The Writer’s Dilemma

It has always been a dream of mine to write a memoir. In fact, I’ve already come up with the title: The Help Not to be Confused with “The Help”: A Self Help Book. I plan to write about an array of events in my memoir, from the multiple times I’ve shit myself at the Rainforest Cafe to how my mother used to store our dead hamsters in ziploc bags in our freezer. You know… so she could give them a proper burial once the ground thawed. I will say growing up that it was quite funny to send my friends to the freezer to get ice cream just so I could see their faces when they stumbled upon our hamster graveyard.

I’m told, too often, that I’m an extremely honest person. I have a tendency to word vomit and say everything that comes to mind, without filtering a single thought and I think that habit has found its way into my writing. I write with complete candor and no topic is taboo for me to talk about. Like the time I got crabs…or the time I wrote about what thoughts go through a bottom’s head. But I’ve realized something recently, a dilemma that has made writing more difficult for me.

What I write is not just about me. When I discuss my relationships and my feelings toward the world, I’m indirectly speaking about the people who make up them. And while it is important and cathartic for me to speak openly, it’s even more important that I don’t betray the trust within my own relationships. If I have a problem at home or with a significant other, I feel compelled to write about it so that I can better understand my own feelings and provide some insight to others. But I’ve learned that it’s unfair to broadcast my relationships to the world without any consent from those people.

Often times the things I write about are topics I’ve never actually discussed with my relationship partner beforehand. I realize now that is is unfair to air my dirty laundry online without warning the people who are part of it. It’s unfair to use my blog to voice my opinion on things when the other people involved have no platform to do the same and cannot defend themselves.

The reality, however, is that my writing is at its best when I’m honest. I can’t sugarcoat the truth or shy away from the intimate details. While I am now making a conscious effort to avoid bringing others into the equation, I know it will still happen to some degree. And I know that it’s okay for me to do this- as long as I recognize that there are consequences. I know now that while my writing may entertain or bring join to some, it can hurt others. And the only one way I can justify how I’m writing is by accepting that those I hurt have a right to shut me out or be upset. I can’t be mad at people for being angry at me, regardless of whether or not I had good intentions when writing whatever article. Because the reality is that how someone interprets a message or an article is as equally important if not more important than how I meant for it to be interpreted.

Looking back, I’m afraid that an article I wrote really hurt someone I used to be close to. And sometimes I have to ask myself if writing such intimate articles is worth it. I mean it’s not as if I’m a fully established author with a huge fan base. I have a couple of hundred readers each day. So why do it? Why risk my relationships just so I can write a stupid article that will eventually fade into obscurity? I do it because I need to commit to my writing. I’m a selfish person, I’m well are of that, and I’m doing the best I can to strengthen my writing so that I can have a career in the future. I want to be someone someday and unfortunately that means I have to look out for myself. It’s an ugly truth. But I hope I never fully forget that what I choose to say or not say has a profound effect on others. I hope I learn what topics are too personal to talk about and when and where to divulge certain information. And I really hope that my work pays off one day and that my future memoir ends up a bestseller someday. And I really really hope that Oprah produces a movie version of it where Abigail Breslin plays me- because you know, gender blind casting is very in right now.

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