They say the truth can set you free, but I think it can also set your house on fire if you let it go unattended.
I’ll let you in on a secret. I have an issue with the truth.
While I’m not a liar, per se, I just don’t like to divulge certain information about myself willingly. While this seems counter-intuitive for someone who lives her life (very openly) in the digital space, there are certain things I no longer talk about because–frankly–it’s none of your business.
But in writing this book (oh, I didn’t tell you I am writing one?), I’ve come face-to-face with the truth, and I’m wondering just how much of it I want to tell.
Back in 2010 I saw a therapist. He told me I was brave, and back then I believed him. I set about creating goals, working toward my dream of becoming a full-time writer, and freeing myself from the overwhelming feeling of being stuck. Despite the progress I made I still have an issue with disclosing certain things about myself that I’m afraid to share for fear of other’s jugement (no, I’m not as tough as I look). Let me be clear, though. Strangers? I don’t care about sharing with them. My peoples, though? Scared to death.
I shouldn’t be, though. They’ve always held me down, but somewhere there is always this voice inside that tells me to hold back a little and not say too much or else they’ll give me THE side-eye of all side-eyes and begin questioning what the hell I was thinking.
That’s all too much. And I don’t want to think about it.
But in writing this book….I’ve come to the realization that the truth will come out, and however it shatters this facade I’ve created is just how it goes down.
Last night I began writing #TheBook.
I took a cue from Anne Lamott and just began getting it all down. You see, I know what my idea is and where I want to start, but making it sound just so can be paralyzing. So I just began culling my memories and writing.
And then this happened:
The night I brought him home from the hospital he cried and cried for hours until his little tawny face turned bright red. I didn’t know what was wrong. He wasn’t wet or hungry or sleepy–although he should have knocked himself out from all that crying. I know he wore me out.
That night his dad called from Men’s Central—he was still being held in L.A. then—and Little O cried his heart out while his father asked if he was hungry or hurt and why I couldn’t get him to stop.
No. My answer that night was no. He’s fine, but I have no idea what his problem is. Maybe he’s crazy like you, I offered.
I remember being angry that his dad was gone. Pissed that he’d gotten arrested and was missing out on hearing this kid yelp in real-time. I was upset and angry and tired my damn self that he could only be with us on the other end of a phone call. I was still hopeful then that he would make it home before Le Kid learned to walk or talk or remember he had been missing. But that wasn’t the case. Six years into motherhood and his dad still parents over the phone.
That night I nearly drowned Little O with baby gas drops, hoping they’d pop the imaginary bubble I thought was growing in his belly. I worried I was overdosing him, although the bottle said it was impossible. But who can be too sure?
Maybe he was just mad. Who knows. But I’m sure my neighbors hated my guts that night. It was the first time I thought that perhaps that abortion I’d considered when I found out I was pregnant might have been a good idea after all. If this is what our first night looks like, I thought, how the hell would I handle the next 18 years?
I’m not sure where this all will lead; the truth has a way of dragging you along for the ride.
But what I do know is that if I honor it, write it, share it, the truth may indeed set me free after all; and if not, it will lead me exactly where I needed to be all along.
Please tell me I’m not alone in this–can you relate? Do you have a problem telling your truth?