Why I Write/Adventures in Acceptance

In response to my blogging, I’ve gotten numerous emails from friends telling me how struck they are that I’m comfortable being so open about my personal life. I haven’t known exactly how to respond to these notes: I appreciate the kudos, but I’m not sure how to describe or explain what it is that allows me to feel okay with putting so much of myself in the world.

Today, I may have come closer to an answer.

My friend, colleague and drinking buddy D asked me to be a “visiting writer” in his undergraduate Creative Writing class. This meant giving his students an essay of mine–I sent them the one about my ongoing battle with insomnia, also the one I’d given my best friend to read with the conceit that I exaggerate my insecure, love-obsessed persona–and attending his class today to answer their questions about craft, process and product.

One student observed, from the essay and my rambling comments, that I seem highly concerned with being percieved as a “good writer.”

“Why are you so preoccupied with that?” she asked. “Couldn’t you just tell yourself you’re good enough and not worry what people think?”

I told her if that if I was able to do what she said I would probably be a more well-adjusted person and thus have nothing to write about. Moving on.

Then, another inquired how it is that I reconcile this profound insecurity with such inhibition in my writing itself.

At this point, I think, we had a moment.

I told her, and the class, that this is something I’ve been contemplating a lot lately: that I too am fascinated by my ability to blog about sleeping with two men in one weekend, know my parents will read it, and not freak out.

I explained that part of it is an awareness that everyone has different aesthetics and that, no matter what, there will always be people who don’t like my writing. I’m okay with that: all artists–or at least those who want to get out of bed in the morning–must be.

Then I confessed that, probably, my willingness to reveal so much is a direct product of my desperation to be loved.

What else is new, you may be asking yourself. You wouldn’t be alone: this seemed to be the question my therapist was pondering as he nodded, unmoved, when I eagerly shared the revelation with him this afternoon.

“Why do I need to be loved so badly?” I pleaded–looking, as, to his dismay, I always am, for a resolution.

“I’m not sure,” he replied. “Your parents loved you.”

“So much!” I said. “They still do!”

We sat for a moment without speaking.

“I guess I’m still looking for romantic love, though,” I admitted. Sometimes the discomfort of extended silence prompts me to state the obvious.

He didn’t object, and eventually we drifted into the part of our sessions where he pushes me from speaking about how I will “deal” with difficult emotions, whatever their provenance, to simply accepting them.

But how I get from a fierce desire for passionate, purposeful companionship to a willingness to spill my guts on the proverbial page is still unclear.

I suppose, for whatever reason, it’s simply who I am. And, for now at least, all I can do is accept it.

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