The truth demands courage.
The truth has been under attack. There’s a parallel universe where what we know to be facts has been distorted and believers have been whipped into a frenzy, storming the halls of government to defend lies they have been made to see as reality. It happened in the United States on Jan. 6, 2021, and it happened in Brazil on Jan. 8, 2023.
I have found comfort in searching for, embracing and living my truth. This truth isn’t an actual representation of shared lived experiences, but my perception of these experiences. It’s how I absorbed and interpreted what happened to me and how I recall these events.
As a journalist, I’ve trained to take careful notes, capturing word for word the words of others and the scenes I witnessed. As a memoir writer, I’ve had to make adjustments to accept that I can and should listen to my heart and rely on my memories and the feelings they unearth to reconstruct my past. As Anne Lamott wrote in Bird by Bird,
You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.
I spent a lot of time over the years undermining myself. If someone’s words hurt me, I blamed them on my own actions. If my perspectives were dismissed, I justified it as a result of them being unimportant. If my efforts went unrecognized, I attributed it to my own failure at producing something meaningful.
As I weave together my life story into a book, I’ve learned to tell myself that if I don’t write as I am, trusting my heart and mind to guide every memory, scene and interiority I add to the page, then I’ll allow others to make of my truth whatever they want it to be. And once I let that happen, my truth will become a lie — appropriated, transformed and recounted as something other than what it is.
To write one’s truth requires courage. I am not afraid.
With love and purpose, always.
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