Writing equals oxygen and breathing has no age limit.
Some people call it over-sharing while others say you’re brave and raw in your personal writing.
Writers of personal essays process emotions and conflict differently than non-writers. Every incident, good or bad, has the potential to become a story, or a fascinating spin on something ordinary. I could be bawling over some loss, and a calm voice behind my thoughts would be narrating it back to me in crafted sentences. Not many of those narrations ever make it to paper, and of course, there’s no background narration in the midst of a serious tragedy — even an inner voice knows when to hang its head in respectful silence.
But it’s only a delay. If the story wants to be told, sooner or later it bursts out.
Writers are word conduits, and as much as they’d like to take credit — or blame — for that which pours out of them, their consciousness isn’t necessarily the original source. Sure, they control the design of the final structure, and any number of factors that figure into a finished piece, and certainly, it’s up to the writer to present it to the world or not. But at the beginning of the process, the honest writer allows herself to be a boat without oars, swaying according to the ocean’s whim.
It’s unclear to me why people visit my blog, meaning, whether it’s because of their interest in me or in my writing. It happens that my blog and I are often synonymous. Here, I am my own work in progress, splattering the myopic, oh-so maligned “I” liberally over every post. And thank goodness, otherwise the weight of my captive monsters and fairies would squeeze the air right out of my lungs.
“I can’t breathe” is my standard go-to in place of “I’m so fucking mixed up right now.”
Some might feel critical toward a grown woman writing about herself as if she’s a ten-year-old given her first diary. Lucky for me, it’s my blog and I can bawl if I want to. Personal writing equals oxygen and breathing has no age limit.
Back when I was single and had a lot to say about dating, people thought this was a relationship blog. Now that a malignant clown is in town and I have a lot to vent, newcomers think it’s a political blog. It’s neither. My blog is me in a looking glass, at various life junctures, waving at whoever’s watching.
When I got into taking pictures, the posts became visually descriptive. When I spent time with my family, I wrote my happiest posts, and when I was suffering, I wrote my most interesting. Saying my writing is me is not altogether figurative. Airing out my grievances and sense of injustice (perpetrated against me) is apparently an inborn trait, begun at the age of six when I could first write, evidenced in page after page of letters to my parents, teachers, friends, neighbors, other people’s neighbors, supermarket cashiers, my doormen, and later, my boyfriends. I would write such letters by hand, one copy for myself and a second for the culprit. I’d like to think the folders, files and boxes of papers I recently sifted through are representative of not just my copies, but some of the originals that — please god — I didn’t deliver.
What adorable GG treasures they must be! They would bring tears to your eyes. Tears drawn by the excruciating tedium of pointlessly detailed canons of complaints. By turns embarrassed, horrified or fatally bored, even I couldn’t get through them.
There are days when an acidic pang sits in my throat, and I can’t tell if it’s because I’m upset or food deprived until I eat and figure out it isn’t hunger.
To reveal or not to reveal… Fuck it: I might be in the middle of a breakup and while I don’t have an issue being open about it no matter how it turns out, I can’t stand the thought of people asking me if I’m okay. Of course I’m not okay. Also, I’m perfectly fine. Funny how that works.
We were ready to go grey together — since we’re halfway there anyway. I ended my recent Harper’s Bazaar article on a positive note about compromise and choosing to bend a personal ideal for the other’s sake, deciding which was more important, our love or our individual nonconformity. “So far, love has won,” I said. He’s a good guy, no question. But compromise shouldn’t ever mean accepting hurtful behavior. The right person will give you the gift of not hurting you. It’s not complicated in the least.
So yeah, don’t ask me if I’m okay. My principles and broken heart are old chums.
I was wrong to deny a while back that GG-the-blog wasn’t some sort of GG-the-person manual. It’s an obnoxiously honest manual: having had my fill of emotional gut punches, I’m ready to be wooed. It’s exciting to wonder from which direction such wooing may come my way. Someone new, someone old, someone exceptionally tall, no one at all. Or me. I’m great at wooing myself.
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You managed to say, like, all the worthwhile things in this post. As a writer, my head was nodding; as a human, my heart was. Thank you. For this, for writing what you write, for living your life, and for being your being. It matters to others’ writing, lives, and beings.
What a lovely comment, thank you. You know what you did for me, right? Telling me there’s some value to sharing and analyzing in the way that I — we — do. So many thanks.
For all bloggers (not to mention other sorts of writers) this may be the most important sentence in this piece: “Writers of personal essays process emotions and conflict differently than non-writers.” So true, and thanks for the rest too.
And thanks to you, always, for your insight and support.
You’re welcome, as always.
Reblogged this on cabbagesandkings524 and commented:
GG on blogging, writing, and other things.
If you can’t be real and honest about your life, good times and bad, on your blog — then what’s the point of writing? You keep writing your “obnoxiously honest manual” — it’s the only kind worth reading.
Thanks, Jana. That’s a nice boost.
We’ll be here for all the gut punches. Every word.
Martin, your support is wonderful and means so very much to me, always.
You are so very wooable and fantastic. Best wishes for your future happiness, wherever it may be found. Also, you NEVER take a bad picture. What’s up with that? Nobody is that beautiful all the time. Lol.
It’s sometimes a struggle for me to be too open with my feelings when I talk to real life people, so I’m glad to be able to do that sometimes using my fingers on a keyboard. I have close to 200 drafts that may never see the light of day, but they’re there for me to read whenever I need them. Sometimes, when I need a pick me up, I’ll read an old blog post and the comments that follow and just appreciate the kindness of people who don’t even know me, but who took a second to not only read my words,but to comment on them. I implore my young police recruits to take notes of all that they see each and every shift, and to use writing as a way of venting their feelings, because we all need to vent, cops especially. Holding it in is harmful. But, I know that most of them won’t write, and maybe not everybody can. Maybe we should appreciate the gift we have more. Something like that…
It’s such a strange thing, isn’t it? How it’s easier to write publicly than talk about some of these things? And I agree with you about revisiting older posts and their comments. I’ve found no better therapy than my blog. Thanks for being here and commenting. Means a lot.
Don, thank you. Seriously, that brought me a big smile. (Is it really as easy as flattery?!) Also, for every good picture of me you see, there are a dozen murdered images. More than a dozen. One day I’ll share some of the rejects with you.
Missed you so
While I process so many important things on my blog, it’s then ironic how stuck I can feel as I try to process some hard things… and can’t seem to write. Lots of nodding and agreeing here.