You Are Making Me Cry
Notable Things I Did (According To Me) in 2013

This Is a Toe in the Water

Sometimes I have so much to say, so many stories to tell that I don't know where to start, so I don't start at all. I worry I'll hurt someone, or that a person I love very much will get the wrong idea, or that I'll be reviled en masse. Because a lot of what I want to say and many of the stories I want to tell are brutal. Some of them are all true, others are threads from several things woven together and others are pure and unbridled fabrication. (Though that last type is laregely unrepresented.)

Fear of hurting people's feelings keeps me from being the writer I want to be. Fear keeps me from writing essays like this. Teresa Finney is so brave in her piece. It breaks my heart, and that's what I want to do to you. I want to break your heart.

But what if I break my mother's heart. Or my father's heart. Or my friend. Or my favorite person.


"If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.” Anne Lamott said that. She's one of my favorite writers about writing. And I love this quote with ferocity, but I can't bring myself to be that bold. I'm so scared.

Perhaps it's because I'm not good enough. Maybe if I had the words I could tell my stories with empathy and compassion and not piss people off. Maybe.

I battle this every day, this not saying the things I want to say. Bravery, consistency and wherewithal is what separates me from the writers I most admire most. 

I am a junkie for the instant gratification of a star, a like, a re-tweet or a thumbs up. Pat my back all day and it will keep me from doing anything hard, keep me from doing anything of real worth, keep me from doing anything that satisfies this incessant need to write something that matters. To me. That makes me proud. That makes people feel something or relate on some level for even a moment.

I'm a terrible coward. Because I know people sacrifice relationships when they tell their stories. Their real stories, the deep down dark ones. How much am I willing to risk? How vulnerable am I willing to be?

This is me being vulnerable right here. This is me admitting I'm scared and not practiced enough to write the stories I have festering inside of me.

This is a toe in the water.

[photo credit: Jofin]


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Well-written confession, BG, but you take it all on yourself, when really the world roundly deserves to be exposed in the light of individual intelligences. You have the character you have; and I suspect you would be most uncomfortable being the firebrand and lightning rod that I am. Sustaining relationships DO make people pull punches, for the reasons you articulated well. How can even the best songwriter write another hit love song when he has been married to the same woman for decades? But most of the world is outside the gambit of the personal relationships we fear we will wither without, providing plenty of subject matter, even though exploratory surgery on a living thing is risky business. In pursuit of the Muse, it can be very lonely at the top.

same here. i've been thinking of writing anonymously, putting those stories out there but without the names attached, just to get them out there, because i don't know how to do it without breaking hearts - even if i were the best writer in the world, i don't think i could tell these stories without someone getting hurt.

2014 i want to try to figure this out.

love to you, and your bravery.

I beg pardon in advance for my appearance here and the strong positions I take hereby, coming as they do out of the proverbial blue.

You write:

"I battle this every day, this not saying the things I want to say."

I suggest that fighting this battle yet more, instead of declaring it won and proceeding accordingly, might just kill you… so I indulge in hyperbole, but not much.

You berate yourself for cowardice because you hold back from writing the truth in your own words - damned categorically good words, in fact - but I'm compelled to think that the really terrifying truth is not in your words, or in your stories.

Instead, that truth manifests in the consequences of your words and the stories they tell, of learning beyond a doubt who cares and who merely thinks of you as a prop to their ego, who is honest enough with themselves (and you, ultimately) to warrant your high regard and who is best left in your wake… however painful that leaving might be.

I, for one, believe that you have that purportedly mythical courage, and always have. All that's left, then, is one question:

Is there anything you want more than to show it?

Finally: it's natural that you want to respect the wishes for privacy of the people you care about. I would like to think that those same people understand and accept that your ideal degree of privacy is… often not as high as theirs. (I would also like to fart in the general direction of anyone who doesn't believe that you're worth the forbearance, however judgmental that desire might be.)

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