During the first week of the Brave Blogging class, Andrea Scher interviewed the very brave blogger, writing teacher Laurie Wagner. It was a wonderful conversation filled with nuggets of brilliance. It never ceases to amaze me how a conversation about creativity and inspiration can create more and more and more ideas – and certainly enthusiasm.
Laurie left the class with an assignment: the blog post no one will ever read. What are you afraid to write about? What “can’t” you write about?
Fascinating premise. I really got going with this and one idea evolved into another and then onto the next. It was amazing to reopen all of those emotionally explosive stories I had so carefully stored away in the recesses of my mind. So, box by box, file by file, these are the stories I cannot tell.
How do I write about being raised by a woman who hated me? She vibrated with loathing. Where do I start? Where do I finish when there is no end?
How do I write about the violent circumstances of my leaving University? How do I write about the betrayal of an institution who chose him over me?
How do I write about the shame heaped upon me when asked ‘what did you do to deserve it?’ upon my return “home”. The shame that stuck with me for 30 years and impacted my sense of worthiness and every relationship I’ve had to this day.
How do I write about the bullies my father has married? Their indelible impact on me and my children?
How do I write about the impact of a man who chooses his work and his spouse over his children while still maintaining the role of good provider?
How do I write the birth story of my first child? second? third? fourth?
How do I write the birth story of the child that never happened?
How do I write the stories of my my emotionally unstable and abusive ex-husband and the lessons I learned through our marriage?
How do I write the impact of a father who abandons his children – emotionally, physically, financially?
How do I write a thank you to all who taught me hard lessons and why I am grateful?
How do I write about all the things, people, ideas, experiences I dismissed due to conditioning?
How do I write about the lies? All the lies of then. All the lies of now.
How do I write about living with a hopeless alcoholic? Why did I stay? Why did I leave?
How do I write my utter frustration with people who still believe falsehoods of my youth, told by my mother (a proven liar happy to throw anyone and everyone under the proverbial bus to get what she wants). Why can’t people judge for themselves? Witness my actions – then and now – and not believe what they have been told. Grow an independent thought, people.
How do I write about stories that are mine to tell but involve others who would be hurt by the truthful recounting of those stories?
How do I write about living desperate poverty when surrounded by wealth, excess and waste?
How do I write about almost losing my youngest child to drowning due to the action/choice of another? How do I address the guilt of my not being home at the time?
How do I write the stories of my always doing what I was told (aka “the right thing”) and yet having none of those decisions work in my best interest? In fact, they were the worst decisions of my life and I didn’t even make them! (NOTE: I am wholly accountable for my participation.)
How do I write about the bitter self-loathing and lack of worthiness when I don’t really care about my weight but it seems every one else does? Acquaintances and strangers do it in such an overt and mean way, how do I write about it when I can barely process the cruelty myself?
How do I write about the impatience I feel toward people who go through life blissfully unaware of themselves and their negative impact on others.
How do I write about my paralyzing fear that something might happen to me and take me away from my children – who are no longer children, but they don’t have another parent. I am sole provider and single parent and it has made me utterly risk-averse.
How do I write about forgetting how to feel? And the struggle to connect again: trust without fear, laughter without cynicism, permitted tears, warm hugs, honest vulnerability.
How do I write about the sexual harassment and promiscuity of life as it was for me in the 1980s? The number of bosses and other supervisors who demanded favours in order to not make my life hell and then made my life hell when I resisted. The number of women who never gave a hand up to the women around them, they did quite the opposite.
How do I write about the small choices I made that did irreparable harm? Those things I did to others when lashing out at things out of my control? How do I acknowledge and atone?
Truth be told, these are not all the stories. The stories I cannot tell are endless.