Thursday, March 17, 2016

Why I Write: My first Washington Post essay

So my first essay came out in the Washington Post this afternoon. I'm laying low, wondering if any of my friends will read it. It's got my name on it, so I figure at least a few people will read it and realize it's me. The essay is about losing control of myself and slamming the door so hard I broke it.

Then, in the essay and as I did a few years ago in that messy thing called real life, I picked up the pieces--literally and figuratively.

I wish this writing success of mine could be celebrated a little more, but I realized that some close to me might be apprehensive because they feel like their dirty laundry is being aired out for others to see. And they didn't exactly wish for that.

Still, it happened. The crappy phase of life happened. My depression and rage happened. The door happened.

But why write about it?

A few years ago before going on a writer's retreat I read the two books of the two women who were presenting to us wannabes. One woman wrote of losing both her parents to cancer when she was young, and how difficult her early adulthood was without their guidance. The other woman wrote of her year in a brothel of the sultan of Brunei.

One book was a share-the-grief, one sure seemed like a look-at-me tell-all. You can probably figure out which was which.

I am sure some will think my essay is the latter, too, but to me it is not. I wrote that essay to show that tough times pass, that divorce is a choice and that you don't have to choose it, that even though a mom might look nice and put together in carpool, her reality might be a whole lot different.

I write to help people realize that they're not alone in their anger or grief or frustration. And that they can keep on going, working through it at their own pace, and things will be okay in the end. And if things are not okay, then it's not the end.

(Click HERE to read my article.)


  1. "And if things are not okay, then it's not the end." What powerful words full of truth. Thanks for being courageous.

  2. I shared some of my bad mother shame in a slice earlier this week. We are all doing the best we can, and it's so important that we recognize our failures and yes, pick up the pieces and move on. Thank you for sharing this!

  3. Yes! That's exactly what I took away from your slice when I read it earlier too. Congratulations on this big moment!

  4. I enjoyed your honest slice and essay. It reminded me of once when my mother-in-law (a wonderful woman) told me that she once held a knife in her hand and considered taking it to her child. Of course she didn't and I think she got some counseling after that. But it told me that we all- the best of us- have terrible, terrible moments. You remind us that it is what we really do, and do next, that defines us.

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  6. it is a beautiful essay...maybe brutiful (again, thanks Momastery) is more accurate