When I told people that I’d left my job to write a memoir, the most common response I received was, “Wow, that’s so brave!” I knew immediately that they weren’t talking about finances or even my maybe potentially derailing my career development. I knew they meant: “You are insane for putting all of your family business out for the world to read.”
Yes, I am telling my story, and I hope it gets disseminated to the whole world (including Oprah!), but there are definitely some risks involved. I have been writing fiction since I was 12, but this is my first foray into telling the truth. This time, my characters are actual people, most of whom are still living and some of whom aren’t fond of me and wouldn’t be pleased that I’m telling this story.
In fact, this morning, I gave some thought to starting an author Facebook page, where all of my blogposts, tweets, etc would be consolidated. I would set up the page and then invite all not-quite-1,000 of my Facebook friends to “like” it. Then I remembered that many of my Facebook friends are people I grew up with, and many of them know my family members, including my siblings. What if they told my family that I’m writing a book that involves them? (I haven’t actually told some of my family members that I’m embarking on this journey. I figured a book tour is the best way to tell them, really.) What if my siblings hear and get upset with me? What if they try to sue me, or worse?
Looking the mirror while brushing my teeth, I told myself to calm down. I have nothing to worry about. You know why?
Because it is my story.
I’m not writing some sort of tell-all, exposing my father for the hypocrite he was. I’m not writing a sob story about all the wrong my family did to me.
I am simply taking ownership of my story, the very composition of who I am.
I intend to be tactful, but I will tell the truth. I will not be intentionally hurtful; this is no revenge tale. I will change my siblings’ names to protect their identities so that they do not run the risk of losing any integrity they may have built as adults. But I can’t sacrifice my freedom for fear of ruffling feathers.
Religion and faith are two big themes in my book, and despite all the hypocrisy I was exposed to, I’m still a Christian. One scripture that I hold tight to is Revelation 12:11: “They defeated [the evil one] through the blood of the Lamb and the bold word of their witness…” Part of living a victorious life, defeating everything that troubles you, is telling your story. Even the Bible says so!
Telling my story will liberate me from the pain of my past and help me free others who are still bound.
I’m not going to be afraid to do good.
(Click here to visit my author Facebook page!)