This post originally appeared on Inside a Dog, where I was a writer in residence for the month of August.
When I started writing, I never expected that my work would be read by anyone. There’s such a negative mentality amongst young writers about the likelihood of our writing ever being read, that I just assumed my work would go unnoticed.
This was a blessing in disguise, as it meant I wrote anything that came to mind without fear of what people would think. When I was twenty-four I wrote a short story about having an operation to have an ileostomy, which is a surgery where they bring a section of your bowel out from your skin and you put a colostomy bag over it.
I didn’t expect the story to get published. When it was, I felt suddenly vulnerable, as I’d put myself out there in a way I never had before. I felt embarrassed about what I’d written and was scared because anyone who wished to read the story would know something so intimate about me.
The story was published in a magazine called Voiceworks, which is a literary magazine which features work of writers under 25. After it was published, I had a few people message me saying that they really loved the story and that they appreciated the honesty.
I learned quickly that there was no danger in sending this story out for publication. I felt oddly empowered having my ‘vulnerabilities’ out there, because now I was taking ownership over them. If I hid them away, then they would take on ‘shameful’ connotations. Yet, if I wrote about them, they were been translated into something empowering – at least the way I saw it.
As I’ve been blogging, I’ve taken on a similar philosophy, in that I will share a lot of my ‘vulnerabilities’ and secret emotions. What I’ve discovered is that these emotions and experiences aren’t unique to me. When I started receiving encouraging comments and messages about how much people could relate to the posts, I began to wonder why I ever felt possessive over these experiences. I’m not particularly possessive of my possessions, so why am I of my experiences?
These are just experiences I’ve been present for. They’re not ‘mine’. These are experiences of being alive that we all share. So why not talk about it.