“There is no agony like bearing an untold story inside you” – Zora Neale Hurston (Dust Tracks on a Road)
In me, I’ve always felt there was something, a story, that wants to get out. Actually maybe more than one ‘something’. And definitely more than one story!
No, this isn’t a scene from the 1979 film classic Alien, where a monster creature emerges from its human host by ripping its stomach apart! Yucks!! Guess some scenes in reel (and real) life you really can’t ever un-see!
I must admit though there are moments in my life I feel like that gut-wrenching moment in Aliens.
Especially if I say nothing, or do nothing!
But which story? When do I tell it? How and where?
As the quote that kicked off this post so aptly puts it, at times it feels exactly like that! Like there is no agony greater than having to stay mum when every fiber of my being screams for my story to be told.
But which story? When do I tell it? How and where do I tell it? And who would care to listen?
As I look now to the end of yet another year, and the start of a new one, I’m once again asking these questions.
And the answer?
The same one that propelled me to launch this blog in the first place back in 2019.
Vulnerability in my writing
Funny isn’t it? How as we grow older we think we ought to have things figured out.
Yet that’s not been my experience at all.
And if more people in this image-conscious, TikTok-filtered world would own up to it — although it requires eating lots of humble pie — that’s probably not been their experience either.
This certainly rings truer and truer for me, year after year after year.
Whether it’s writing, parenting, learning, or teaching (the areas of life that most occupy my world), I seem to know more and more with each passing year that I really don’t know much at all!
But from what I can tell, this isn’t the kind of admission you’ll hear spilled out openly and willingly.
If you go by what you see online, people seem to prefer and enjoy sharing with the world what they have learned or what they have gained. In short, passing on sage wisdom by way of bolstering one’s street cred. Like some badge of honor being paraded about.
Or worse, blowing one’s own trumpet.
What they call today humble bragging!
I think I’ll stick to vulnerability.
Sob story anyone?
I don’t know why this world keeps clamoring for it, but I guess it just needs ‘winners’. All. The. Time.
Even stories of the downtrodden or underdogs somehow find their way around to triumphal conclusions. Like cars making a U-turn at the cross-junctions of life.
In short, success, in the end, is what matters.
Any wonder this shallow world was caught off guard this month when a celebrity committed suicide?
I’ve watched dancer/choreographer Twitch since the beginning when he joined the dance contest SYTYCD as a competitor. He was the runner-up in Season 4 and went on to fame and success in the world of dance and Hollywood entertainment.
Not only was his dancing flawless, but his public persona was also extremely positive and seemingly full of life and light. He was also a resident DJ and co-executive producer on the Ellen DeGeneres show, winning many fans along the way.
To then commit suicide by gunshot on the 13th of this month, after only recently celebrating his 40th birthday and ninth wedding anniversary with his wife and three kids??
Talk about sending shockwaves!
The explosive reaction worldwide of surprise and disbelief is further proof that living in denial (that vulnerabilities exist in this world) is how most of us prefer to operate.
Writing on — warts and all!
So to be vulnerable in my writing, and to stay so, isn’t something popular.
But I’m still convinced that alongside joyous moments, brokenness is what also goes on in everyone’s lives on a daily basis.
And it’s where I write from, my place of raw vulnerability.
But as I said, no one wants to hear a sob story. Especially not in my country where winners, fast-paced and costly livelihoods, not to mention shallow conversations, rule.
This means that until I can find places that will accept them, I’ll just keep my thoughts on my blog for now.
Oh and to take another year’s break from social media (like I did a couple of years ago) to detox and regain some much-needed perspective and sanity; just so I don’t get needlessly distracted from my writing.
So here’s to a new year of writing well — (hopefully) better — about my old, raw, and unfinished themes of autism, parenting, writing, and life.
And to read and write about what I know, what I want to know, and heck-caring the rest!
Happy New Year everyone!