The challenge within
When I found out about Invictus, I was super excited to write about myself. I don’t normally do that. I’m a journalist and I write about others. The only times I’ve written about myself was when I was a teenager and had a diary or the occasional blog post here and there. But I’ve never written about myself so intimately and more importantly I’ve never written about how my actions and decisions spiraled out to those around me.
I knew this wouldn’t be easy, but damn. Writing about myself is harder than I imagined. It’s easy to see everything from my perspective because that’s what I know. The hardest part is pulling myself away from that one dimension and telling the story not only through my eyes, but through the eyes of other people as well. We each see a scene completely different and I can’t tell a full scene without the different angles and viewpoints of everyone.
I know how I saw my life nine years ago when I was self-abusive and starving myself. But I didn’t know how my parents saw me or my life. I didn’t know what I was doing was impacting them at all. I was in my own little world, oblivious to the talks they were having about me and their growing concern.
A big learning point I’ve already had in this process is knowing it’s important to pull myself out of the experience. It’s “a” experience not “THE” experience and this is something that I have to keep in mind throughout the writing process. As I talked with my professor a month or so ago, he said what you see and experience is the least likely to be true. Hence, the necessity of others to enable me to tell the full story. Part of including others is writing about what they meant when they said or did things, not what I think they meant. I have to tell all parts of the story, especially the parts of the story I had no idea were even there.
Writing about myself has been a struggle. I tend to get stuck in my head and find it hard to escape. But again, it’s pulling me out of the story in order to tell the human condition to the best of my ability. No one said this would be an easy thing. But the end result will be well worth fighting the challenge within- the late nights, early mornings, the constant writing and editing. It is a beautiful thing to write about oneself.
I’ve learned a lot early on in the process already and I know there is much more to come. The challenge comes from within: Can I pull away from my biases, my opinions and my views to tell a story in full, of all the characters, of all that happened?