i reworked an old essay of mine titled “MEmory” and shortened it so i could submit to CBC Creative Nonfiction contest. it was difficult to do for a variety of reasons, mostly emotional. it’s an essay about my grief after my Mom died and, in it, i’m as honest as i can be. this kind of writing makes me afraid.
here’s an excerpt:
Memory. Noun. Definition. The power or process of reproducing or recalling what has been learned and retained especially through associative mechanisms (Merriam-Webster Online). Well-oiled mechanisms.
I wound memory. Memory wounds me.
I quit nursing school halfway through the program. Doesn’t feel right. Forced. Quarrels, quarrels, quarrels. Mom threatens excommunication. No longer welcome at their table. “No daughter of mine quits,” she says. Dad tries to speak and she cuts him off. Shoots him a dirty look. I want to bite her.
Too scared to stand up for myself, I return to nursing school and complete the program. Gaps emerge. I don’t feel quite right—out of control and too controlling at the same time. My weight drops too low.
I hurt her over and over again for years.
this whole writing thing is wrought with a mixture of fear, anxiety, and joy. i don’t know why i do it except that i can’t stop. sometimes i wonder if writing is one way to explore vulnerability.
what are you afraid of?