Vulnerability

It’s funny how the tiny seeds that I have planted on this blog have, from time to time, gone on to become bigger essays or ideas for something else. When I started writing here in 2005, I could not even conceive that I would ever write anywhere other than here, or that I would one day call myself a writer and that it would feel like a legitimate thing to say. Who could have predicted that this blog could deliver me incredible friends who live far away, strengthen bonds with people who already knew me or who have come into my life, or inspire people to encourage me with this whole writing thing? Not me. It really drives me nuts when people say, “everything happens for a reason,” but I am willing to acknowledge that the tiniest decision – throwing a picture of a weird cherry onto the internet, say – can fundamentally change your life and you never really know which little decision it’s going to be.

I had to write about a road trip for my literary non-fiction class. The specification of “road trip” really annoyed me. Yeah, I have been on road trips, I guess, but none that I would really consider a road trip. You know, the kind where you get out a map and you plot out a bunch of points on it, and maybe you rent a convertible and you definitely tie a Hermes scarf in your hair, and the whole thing is going to take at least a week but probably two. So I was like, fuck, what am I going to do?

The long and the short of it is, I went to the archives of this blog. I looked up a trip I had taken to Sault Ste. Marie with my mom, my grandma and my aunt to visit my great aunt Olive. My intention was to write about the family dynamic in that car, and I wanted to see if I had left any clues about it here. I hadn’t really, but what I had done was post a picture. I noticed something about that picture, which was that nobody – not my mom, not my grandma, nor my Aunt Olive (Aunt Mary took the picture) – was smiling, but me. Who knows why I was smiling. I am a smiler, I guess. But another interesting thing was, I was pregnant when that photo was taken, I just did not know it yet. Obviously, the shit hit the fan not too long after that, and that is what I wrote about.

Roger commented, among other things, that the essay was characterized by “a very powerful sense of vulnerability.” I liked that he saw that, because I think that if you’re going to write stories about yourself, it’s important to be willing to get a little dirty and roughed up. He suggested that, because I write like this, I might find Brené Brown’s Ted Talks empowering.

Now, I don’t want to turn Pink Collar into The Blog About Writing, but I am a writer, and right now I’m up to my eyeballs in it. I also know that there are some writers who read this blog and Roger is right. If you are one of the writers who visit me here, especially if you write personal stories, you should also watch these. They’re long, but worth it.

If, on the other hand, you are not a writer, don’t worry! Brené Brown is not actually talking about writing! See? Something for everyone.

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