Friday, August 16, 2013

The secrets we keep

It's funny, being a writer sometimes.

I'm sure that there are many out there who think we share everything about ourselves. Who believe that we are like the open books that we crave, that we write, that we are drawn to.

It might seem that way, at least to the rest of the world.

There are some of us who write an awful lot about the things that people usually refuse to discuss with others. We write about addiction and mental health crises and eating disorders and death and illnesses and loss and grief. We write candidly about our lives, our families, our marriages, our friendship, our enemies.

Or do we?

I've not once written anything that was less than true, I've worn my heart on my sleeve more times than I could even count. I've opened that dirty ugly basement closet and drug some of the nastiest morsels of my personal story out, exposed them to the light for the world to see.

But there's a lot still in there.

There is a lot I don't write about. The stories that remain unwritten. The secrets I keep.

Most of it, I keep close because my responsibility to protect my family is more important than any desire to expose it.

Some of it, I keep close because it's too goddamn painful to write about, and even the mere idea of it makes the walls start to close in on me, makes my heart pound until I'm sure that it will leap out of my chest, makes me want to shut myself off from the rest of the world forever.

A few pieces of it, I don't write sheerly out of humiliation. I realized this yesterday when a dear friend and writer confided something in me. This writer hasn't written their story, and I haven't written this one of mine because I am embarrassed. I feel shame, as do they, and the worst part of it is that neither of us have any reason to feel that way. We weren't responsible. None of it was our faults. We were (and still are) very much the victims, though we both get up every single morning and tell ourselves we won't be. And yet, here we are. Ashamed of things we did not do.

So we stuff it down inside. The words that beg to find a way out are kept under lock and key.

Writers are complex creatures.

The more of them I come to know, the more I see it. The more I learn about myself, the more I see I have yet to learn.

We have stories to tell because of the things that have happened to us. If our lives weren't complicated, we would be uninteresting. We let it out, one piece at a time. We disguise it. We fictionalize it. We write about it from a perspective that no one would connect to us for having experienced it.

Or we don't write about it at all because it hurts too goddamn much, or because we just can't.

Us writers, we carry many burdens. The burden of protecting those around us from the damage our words can inflict. The burden of accuracy and ensuring truth. The burden of criticism and judgment.

The greatest of all those burdens, though, are the stories we don't tell.


  1. *Standing ovation coupled with a slow clap followed by hooting and hollering.*

    *Then, hugs, hugs, and more hugs*

    This. All of this. ALL OF THIS. Every single fucking word of this is absolutely my thoughts and feelings. It's like My Muse was with you this week when she went missing.

    Step one: I can tell the world that I am the writer you refer to. That it was me with all the secrets that I don't write about. Just admitting that is a step towards letting it out.

    Thank you, Kelly for being such a damn good friend, for listening to me and encouraging and supporting me when I need a friend. When I'm down, you lift up.

    Thank you for all of your beautiful words you kick ass superhero writer.

    -The Insomniacs Dream

  2. I'm not a writer...but I agree as an artist and a fellow that I applaud and understand. Thank you!! *clapping and blowing kisses*

  3. I haven't been blogging long but I have always loved to write and it was my strongest subject. I was repeatedly told it was beyond good, it was wonderful ....I didn't believe it and sometimes still I don't either...I have written some pretty hard stuff about my life and my family and my experiences...Yet I still hold onto secrets. Things that also are not my fault. They did however make me who I am today and that is very much okay with me. I have drafts that I will never published.

  4. I agree. Completely.
    I have not been blogging long. However English was always my favorite subject and If I got penalized for anything it was going over the word count. I was often told it was wonderfully worded or that the actual writing was good. I will tell you a secret...I didn't believe it then and Its still something I struggle to believe.
    I have drafts that I will never publish because they are too painful. That even though were somewhat therapeutic to write , they would hurt others and I won't do that.
    I completely give you a standing ovation and blow big huge kisses and hug hug hug

  5. The burden of protecting those around us from the damage our words can inflict.

    This sums the whole idea up for me. Either the things I have to say involve other people directly or the things I have to say would crush other people.

    So they don't get said.


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