How to Write About Yourself

Earlier today, I read this article entitled How to Tell a Mother Her Child is Dead. I greatly admired the style of the prose, and want to try my hand at it.


Some days you will need to dress in crisp, white linen shirts and pressed pants and jewelry so that you know you look nice on the outside before you release the ugliness within; it all comes out in a rush on the page and as you reread your own words, your breath will become short at the sight of your own iniquity.

You remember the things people have said to you when they’ve read what you’ve written and count how many people “get you” and how many people don’t. You will ignore the people that understand in favor of laboring over every negative comment, because you had the same thoughts when you were reading about what you have done and left undone… so the people that hurt you are right and the people that understand you are just being polite.

This is because to write about yourself is to lay out pieces of you to dry in the sun so that they look different as they weather, erode. As beautiful patterns emerge, you recognize them… or you will, once you have enough information.

This is the type of information that is delivered severely, because if you are trying to affect change, you will shake and cry until your fingers aren’t touching the keyboard anymore, and you won’t notice… until you do. When the realization hits you, you reset your hands. The only way out is through.

The hardest part is not writing that one piece that one time, but hurting so much you can’t breathe and being willing to do it again. To see all your sins laid out once more. To be willing to choke on your own words day after day after month after month after year after year. To feel like nothing ever changes, until you read your words once some time has passed and epiphany strikes.. you are better in some areas, worse in others.

But alas, “better” and “worse” are subjective so who is to say?

When you have finished writing, you crawl into bed as if you have run a marathon, aching with pain from your wrists and your mind… drifting off in the haze of everything you meant to say….

And didn’t.

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