The Right to Write
Now here's one I've been stewing over. . .the right to tell my own story. Isn't it a right? If so, then why does it seem others are so adamant that I don't speak? That I keep silent about certain things that are happening or have happened in my life?
One of my favourite writers, Augusten Burroughs, doesn't seem at all concerned about these things. Maybe at one time he considered the effects of his writing, but he still wrote--still put it out there. Those of you who've read his memoirs will understand that nobody (Augusten included) is depicted in a perfect or even remotely together manner, and why should they be? Why are people so uncomfortable with the truth? Augusten Burroughs is not only a fantastic writer, but also a brave one. For some crazy reason, we must be brave in order to tell the truth--to speak up about our experiences. Why is it that so many people prefer to keep things on lock-down? Why be afraid of looking flawed in a fucked up world? I mean, aren't we all bound to be messed up in some way from the chaos of everything? If you are out there pretending to be perfect then your flaws are likely standing out more than mine, more than the rest of us. You are isolating yourself.
I know people like this. If any of them are reading this, they're probably sweating with anxiety, hoping I don't say something about them directly. In a sense, I just did.
I have toiled over the idea of writing a memoir for years and, until recently, I thought it was because I didn't really have anything interesting to say, that I lead a boring life. I now know that's not true. The boring life part is, of course, but I now realize that I actually feel like I haven't been allowed to tell my story, that I would risk being disowned or something. I've allowed myself to be held back. The thing is, what is life without risk? Boring! Not everything is interesting, that's a given, and not every experience is a positive one. A lot of my experiences have been terrible, frightening, embarrassing and degrading. That's fine. I want people to know about that; I want to talk about all of that stuff, because nobody should suffer in silence. Plus, it's not as much fun to laugh at yourself when you're alone. As children, we learn the importance of sharing, and it seems that notion has since gone missing. Hide your feelings. Lie about your age. Don't talk about your failures. Pretend everything's okay. Cover up. Run away. Is this what being an adult is really about? It all seems so childish! I don't want people to need to know the secret knock in order to be let into my tree house. Despite what I once thought about wanting to be left alone, I do want to be seen and heard, and I want to see and hear others.
For the most part, with the exception of my journals, I've always leaned toward writing fiction. I love making things up, and I'm good at it. I'm much better at fiction than reality. I suppose there's a part of me that shies away from discussing my actual life events, but even in my fictional accounts you will find me lurking around somewhere; I can't hide. I've never been good at hiding.
Blogging is sharing, and I'm getting better at that (the sharing part). What I'd like to improve on is my ability to step out into the world, as myself, out of character, in every context. Sometimes you have to leave things behind--people, possessions, addictions--in order to do that. Creating has always been my outlet, and writing is such a vital part of working through things for me. I can appreciate a person's wanting to keep things private, but I do not believe that something should remain unsaid to help protect someone, at the expense of another. I need to write; it's what I do, what I've always done and will continue to do. I will never go out of my way to hurt someone, but sometimes it happens. People get offended. People take things personally. People get angry. People hide. People, get over it. Seriously. If you need to talk, talk. If you need to write, write. This is your life. My life. I want to share. It's my right, isn't it?
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I'm finally doing it--pulling my insides out and splattering them around for all to see. Here we go!