Tonight I followed a trail of links to an article on writersdigest.com titled, Spilling Secrets, and it articulated the dance I do whenever I think about the book I REALLY want to write. Even writing this post makes me nervous. I’ve written and rewritten three paragraphs already, trying to address this subject in the least controversial way possible.
My whole family does the dance, it seems. We all talk to each other about the elephant in the room just fine, but nobody dares to address the elephant itself and says, ‘Hey, elephant – why did you do that? What you did hurt me.’ We just continue to talk about the elephant as if he weren’t there, and try to find healing amongst ourselves.
I am a split personality. My gum chewing sassy bad self says, ‘Fuck it if they don’t like it. I must speak!’ I’m exhausted from 25 years of dancing around the subject and just want to TALK about it, already. And NAME it.
But then my sensible fragile conflict-avoiding self says, ‘Whoa – but I still have to eat a TURKEY with these people once a year.’
I am grateful I did not hastily pen a memoir in my twenties. For one thing, I was a terrible writer back then – horribly dramatic and without Voice. But also, maturity of years has tempered my perspective. I see things differently, more graciously. I’m gaining insight into person, motive, human nature.
And Recovery has humbled my perspective. I no longer see myself as better. Or holier. Or exempt. I’m on the same Crazy Train as everyone else. What I write now will not be finger pointing, and for this, I am grateful. I no longer want to blame. I just want to understand.
Lately, the question I have been asking myself the most is, ‘What is my point?’ Is self healing a good enough reason to expose the family secrets? I know I will find healing for myself in the process. But at what cost?
Deep down, I know it will come to me. I know there is an angle, a theme, a point. I know that once I start writing down the memories, the conversations, and begin to piece them all together, I know there will be a Meaning. But I must trust the process. I must write, or it will never come to me.