Writing Your Life Story Is Like Hanging Over The Edge Of A Precipice.

  • May 29, 2016
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  • Author: Caroline Hemingway

For a while now I have been trying to write the story of my life and I am discovering that this is no easy feat. You see, life is not plain sailing and “bump in the road free” and it certainly brings people across our paths that piss us off, betray us, reject us and generally cause pain at times in life. This is where my dilemma starts. You see I have had some amazing experiences in life and I actually don’t regret any of the things I have been through (including the painful bits) because they have made me who I am today and without them I would probably never have started writing in the first place and I would not have discovered this passion I now love. Nonetheless writing about past experiences is difficult – although I no longer find it emotionally draining or painful to recount the traumatic bits, I am acutely aware that I am writing about real people and I have no desire to be the person who dishonours others even if their actions were unkind and mean – it is just not in  my personality to tear people down with joy. So my dilemma is, how do you write your story honestly without throwing people under the bus? Is it even possible?

I’m also aware that my story is just that – my interpretation of the events that have happened in my life through the lenses and emotions I was experiencing at the time with the facts that I had. Others may have seen those events completely differently at the time. So how much detail does one put into a story without sounding sorry for oneself or as though you are trying to justify your life’s choices – I don’t want it to be like that at all!

I guess my goal in writing my story is to inspire – to make people laugh and cry and feel as though their problems are normal – that none of us is perfect and that we all make mistakes, but hey, at the end we can all rise above and discover some great things about ourselves, others and life. I am not writing this to shame others or paint anyone in a bad light – rather I want it to be a story about how I’ve discovered who I am and how I’ve had to stand up to systems and people who have tried to squash me into a box or define who I should be – but it is not as easy as it sounds to write it in a way that sounds factual and not like I have sour grapes. I guess I have to be comfortable with the fact that there will always be those who will read what I write and interpret it the wrong way anyway – I’m just not sure I am brave enough to go there yet.

I have chosen not to name anyone in my book (other than my own immediate family) but is that enough to share the story without dishonouring others? It is a fine line and balancing act. Does anyone have any suggestions how to go about this?

For now I have put the book aside and I’m thinking on it. This has to be one of the hardest things I have done. Maybe I will write it and it will be my cathartic experience but it will sit in my bottom drawer for eternity. One thing I do know is that writing never gets easier – there are always new challenges and things I can learn as I go through this journey – that’s what I love about it.

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