A friend once told me she's hesitant to get close to me and really open up because she fears I'd write about it. That even if I don't use her name and no one else would know about whom or what I'm talking, it'd bother her.
Being an artist--it's a tricky thing. To really honor your art, your voice, your heart, you must embrace full transparency. That's what people want. Surface level shit is just that--shit. I don't care that you're standing in front of a historic building in Amsterdam. Tell me the story behind your smile, what's really going on.
And yet, often, as a writer myself, I fear isolation, upsetting those I love.
When I was finishing up Must Girls Love 10 years ago, one of my sisters threatened to sue me. Yep, you read that correctly. She didn't want our family's "secrets" on display. She didn't want future employers to know things most people don't share. I understood her concerns, but I had just spent 18 months pouring my soul into a book that honored Miya. I replied, "There's no alternative. I must do this for myself, for Miya. I'll change your name." And so that's what I did. (She was pissed.) I share more than most people. My mom, when others tell her how much they love the honesty of my writing, lovingly jokes that she wants to crawl under a bed and hide. I know I'm too much for some people, those who want secrecy, who want to ignore things. They want to make believe all is alright. That's not real.
For others, I seem to be just the right amount.
I haven't written all week because I didn't know what to say. Not because I didn't have things to say--I had a lot. But because I didn't know if I should have shared. I didn't want to embarrass my mom. I didn't want to upset anyone more than I already had.
I'm in 6A, 10 days earlier than planned. I have 6 hours left of an 8.5-hour flight, and I'm counting down the minutes until Monkey is snoring on my lap, on our connecting flight from Detroit to San Diego. As much as I want that, now that the emotional hurricane has almost passed, I feel a sense of regret, embarrassment, that I didn't just suck it up, stay. But in the moment, I just couldn't. [continued in comments] - 3 minutes ago