I am well-acquainted with the taste of my own foot. A good portion of the time, it likes to live in my mouth, and so I’ve become accustomed to it. Some days that foot tastes worse than others, and today it was the most putrid thing I’ve ever experienced.
In my pursuit of writing with complete honesty, I accidentally hurt someone’s feelings. When I write, I like to pepper my posts with crude language — it’s just part of my cynical, sarcastic inner voice. I’m not very good at writing about the positive side of life, preferring to write as if I don’t give a shit. But it’s not true. I DO give a shit. In writing about my own life, I often get so passionate as I reminisce that I forget that other people were there, too. Those other people probably aren’t as open with their lives as I am, and I sometimes forget to respect that privacy.
When I was alerted to the impact my words had, I initially felt angry. After all, I’m a writer, goddamn it! I can write what I want, my artistic voice will not be silenced, and if certain things weren’t meant to be written about then they shouldn’t have happened. That version of me can be ugly and vindictive and takes pleasure in writing as if words were a whip I could use to hurt people. I took a moment to breathe and calm down, reminding myself that the pain wasn’t caused by bad writing, it was caused by hurtful words.
Once the anger passed, I realized what I had done. I had focused solely on the story I was telling and the impact certain events had on me without considering the other people involved, people who didn’t want their past made public. I’ve since edited the post in question to remove any references to those involved.
I’ve learned an important lesson today. No one is trying to censor me or dictate what I should write and how, it’s up to me to decide what to make public and consider the feelings of the other people involved in my stories. Changing names is done for a reason. This is my journey of writing honestly, with my own artistic voice and vision, but I don’t want to lose my friends and family in the process. I’ll be more careful.