Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Telling hard stories

The journal entry that became a book

My book comes out next month. And I think I should be excited. And I am, a little. But mainly I'm just scared.

Scratch that. Not scared. Terrified. I sort of want to hide in the bedroom and not come out of it for the next few months. Which is terribly ironic since the book I've written is about having a major breakdown and having to spend a few months being in places that were safe and a bit hidden away from the rest of the world.

And that, as they so ineloquently say, is the thing. I've written a book, and somehow gotten it published, which is a miraculous and amazing fact which most days I can't even comprehend I have the privilege of saying.

I've written a book, but it's about a tremendously difficult and, to be honest, embarrassing time in my life, a time that felt like failure after failure. I pray this book will communicate something about healing, something about wholeness, something about hope, but I'm not 100% sure it will do that, while I am 100% sure that it talks about a lot of pain and hurt and self-destruction, and also I'm 100% sure that if the book is anything like this blog, which it surely must be, that it will involve a whole lot of run-on sentences and weak diction that would make my high school English teachers mad at me.

(Should I find my high school English teachers and tell them I've written a book? Should I add that to my "now it's time to try to sell this book" to-do list? Oh gosh.)

I'm currently wracked with boring self-doubt, an experience I'm sure anyone who's ever written a book (or for that matter a note to someone they like) has had. Writing in order to share writing with others is an experience of excruciating vulnerability. This is true even if one isn't also haunted by the added layer of painfully specific doubt that accompanies a book about mental illness and suicidal ideation and self-harm.

Should I have shared those particular personal details?

Should I have included more explicit and specific warnings about approaching content that has the potential to be triggering for someone with a similar experience?

Will my book help anyone?

Will my book do more harm than good?

Should I warn people off from reading it, exactly the people I had in mind helping when I decided to write it?

Should I have written this thing at all?

It's enough to land a guy in the psych ward. Oh, wait...

I doubt I'll ever have answers to these questions, really. Of course, I doubt all manner of things, and on some rare days, while I doubt, I also hope and love and trust. John Wesley once wrote about the "Almost Christian," a term he meant pejoratively or at least critically. I am beginning to embrace the phrase as an accurate self-description. Most days. Most days.

But answering these questions, not to mention the shallower, sillier questions -- Will this thing sell? Will anyone really want to read it? Will it succeed? Will I be allowed to write another one? Why would I ever want to write another one? When do I get to write another one? -- isn't why I wrote. It's not why I decided to tell, in whatever fragmented, limited way I can, this piece of my story.

It's a hard story to tell, and I don't really now how not to tell it, and I don't know that I ever have known.

Telling our stories honestly and well is hard. I don't know if I'm good at it, and I do know that even if I am good at it there are only rare days where I'll feel good at it. Those days I'll accept as a gift, but I can't just sit around and wait for them to come. A person can dissolve in that waiting.

And so I will tell, and share, and doubt, and hope. I can't tell you to do the same thing. Perhaps your story is too jagged right now for you to touch. Perhaps it is a burden that you need to set down for awhile before picking it up in this difficult manner. Perhaps there are too many risks. Perhaps you are just too tired.

If I understand anything, it's being just too tired.

And perhaps when you read this, or when you read pieces of my story, you will say to yourself, "Easy for him to say, protected as he is by privilege and by ease." And you will be right, in many, many ways.

It is scary, and weird, and vulnerable, to tell our hard stories.

Somehow, somehow -- reaching out for connection, hoping to offer healing, or at least companionship, the bare whisper of "you are not alone -- we tell them anyway.

1 comment:

  1. My life is beautiful thanks to you, Mein Helfer. Lord Jesus in my life as a candle light in the darkness. You showed me the meaning of faith with your words. I know that even when I cried all day thinking about how to recover, you were not sleeping, you were dear to me. I contacted the herbal center Dr Itua, who lived in West Africa. A friend of mine here in Hamburg is also from Africa. She told me about African herbs but I was nervous. I am very afraid when it comes to Africa because I heard many terrible things about them because of my Christianity. god for direction, take a bold step and get in touch with him in the email and then move to WhatsApp, he asked me if I can come for treatment or I want a delivery, I told him I wanted to know him I buy ticket in 2 ways to Africa To meet Dr. Itua, I went there and I was speechless from the people I saw there. Patent, sick people. Itua is a god sent to the world, I told my pastor about what I am doing, Pastor Bill Scheer. We have a real battle beautifully with Spirit and Flesh. Adoration that same night. He prayed for me and asked me to lead. I spent 2 weeks and 2 days in Africa at Dr Itua Herbal Home. After the treatment, he asked me to meet his nurse for the HIV test when I did it. It was negative, I asked my friend to take me to another nearby hospital when I arrived, it was negative. I was overwhite with the result, but happy inside of me. We went with Dr. Itua, I thank him but I explain that I do not have enough to show him my appreciation, that he understands my situation, but I promise that he will testify about his good work. Thank God for my dear friend, Emma, I know I could be reading this now, I want to thank you. And many thanks to Dr. Itua Herbal Center. He gave me his calendar that I put on my wall in my house. Dr. Itua can also cure the following diseases ... Cancer, HIV, Herpes, Hepatitis B, Inflammatory Liver, Diabetis, Fribroid,Parkinson's disease,Inflammatory bowel disease ,Fibromyalgia, recover your ex. You can contact him by email or whatsapp, @ .. drituaherbalcenter@gmail.com, phone number .. + 2348149277967 .. He is a good doctor, talk to him kindly. I'm sure he will also listen to you.

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