Am I Ready to Tell You the Whole Story?

Sometimes I feel like my blog is my confessional, or my dear diary.

I feel obligated to share, especially things that make me feel guilty or sad.

It’s hard to share light.  Why is that?

Saturday morning I shared my time with writers.  Shawn SmuckerIra WaglerBryan Allain.  I took a seat with a group of Shawn’s family.  Once I sat down, I came to realize they were all siblings, very tight knit.  I felt like I had invaded their space, but really, I hadn’t.  They conversed with me, we shared about what we wanted from the writers breakfast, and I let some of my inhibitions fade.  I excused myself before Ira began to speak, needing to find some quiet space just for me to process.

Some of my anxiety has returned.  I don’t know where or why or if it’s just temporary and related to anniversaries, but nonetheless, it’s there.  Shallow breathing, difficulty feeling real and present in conversation, needs to escape people.  Having spent the night before at a chamber mixer, and an open house, I was already feeling peopled-out.

Bryan sat near me and I introduced myself; we had known each other from the Twitter community.  I was pleased at his in-person welcomingness.  Yes, I’m making that a word now.  Admittedly, I had assumed Bryan to be cocky before.  I just never really got him, but meeting him in person, well, he’s a nice guy.  We shared some of our inhibitions in writing, Bryan having just committed to writing full time and leaving his “day” job.  More and more, I could feel the inhibitions and anxiety ease off.

Shawn and Ira began to speak about writing.  Sorry Ira, I hadn’t read the book beforehand.  I didn’t even really know what he wrote.  I recognized his name from Twitter, but that was about it.  Well, it turns out he wrote this book Growing Up Amishand it just so happens to be a NYT bestseller.  As he spoke though, I didn’t get that “I’ve made it” feeling from him.  He just spoke.  He shared.  He was honest, he answered questions.  He pinpointed about a dozen sticking points in my own memoir.

Shawn Smucker and Ira Wagler

My last conversation about the memoir had been with Jason in which he correctly pointed out that it seemed that I was no longer driving the memoir, the memoir was driving it self, into the ground.  I had stopped talking about, mentioning it, blogging about it, I almost wished it into non-existence.  First draft written, then shut down.  I agreed with him; I was no longer passionate about that project.  Maybe I had just needed to write my account and let that be that.  Just to say I did it and find some type of closure.  Maybe.

That was part of it.

But those dozen or so sticking points that Ira mentioned got me fired up.

I write in blog speak, why force myself to change that?

Do I still care so much about what people think that I can’t write or release it?

Have I accepted responsibility for where I came from?

and most of all…reminding myself that it’s my story.  Not Kevins.

That was the clincher.  I mentioned to one of the woman who attended the breakfast that I couldn’t hear Kevin’s voice to write it.  She said I could give Kevin a voice, but I don’t think she really understood why I was welling up with tears.  I can’t hear his voice.  Plain and simple.  I get fragments, but mostly, it’s gone.

The story I wrote and now need to re-write, oh yay, is my story.  I can only tell it from my perspective.  I can assume some things, but isn’t it just best if I tell it how I remember it; good, bad, ugly?  Admitting that not everything in our relationship was roses?  Feeling as if I had become his caretaker instead of his wife?  Wondering after he died if he ever really loved me at all?  Whatever falsehoods I’ve created in my brain, they’re mine to own and admit.  And mine to tell and share.

Am I ready to tell my story?  In my speak, whether grammatically or talently written; or not.  Am I ready?  The first draft was a timeline, the first edit, a confessional.

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