As rudely as she had spit the words at me, she had a point. Was I really writing for myself if I HOPED others would read it?
I paused. “I suppose that’s true,’ I conceded, ‘and yet it’s okay to write something for myself and still want others to read it…isn’t it?”
Our eyes met across the counter. We both stared at each other. And in that instant that felt like forever, I wondered to myself why I even cared what this bitch thought. She never did like me.
We had a long and tumultuous relationship. She was always the first to remind me that I had “potentially” gained weight. Most of the time, she was wrong. Still her constant harping on my body was something I couldn’t simply dismiss. Perhaps her words are the cause that led to my anorexic behaviors. But later, her insults spurred me to want to feel my best, maybe just to spite her. And eventually, that desire led to my interest in nutrition, holistic healing, and healthy living.
She was also the one who browbeat me the hardest, taunting me about my failures. A ninety nine was never a good enough grade. Not getting the job was not an option. Be better, do better, this is not the best you can be, do, act, etc. It was like she couldn’t let anything slide. But in dealing with her bossiness, I became determined to succeed. And when the result really was the best I could do, I taught myself to tune her out, and found the concept of grace.
It was her that hollered at me to dry my tears, and get up off the floor, the first time I experienced physical violence. Her words may have been unkind, but I discovered I was stronger than I thought. That an unexpected punch didn’t cause me to tremble in fear and simply wait for the blows to stop. I learned to push back. That standing up could save me, and that running was also an option. She never let me look down in cowardice from that point on when confronted with someone’s anger, and as a result, I feel brave enough to face anything.
Her disdain pissed me off the day I cried about declaring bankruptcy after being taken advantage of by a con artist. I berated myself constantly. How could I have allowed this parasite into my life? Why wasn't I smarter and less trusting? “What?’ she scoffed at me, “Do you really think you’re the only person on the planet who has been taken in by a professional scammer? Get your ass out of bed and show the world you’re not broken.” So I did.
Her methods are harsh. She yells a lot. She’s probably meanest person I’ve ever met. But we’ve been connected for so long, I almost can’t imagine life without her overbearing unsympathetic behavior. She's obnoxious, judgmental, and unforgiving in her determination to needle me. She's like the stereotypical military sergeant from movies who drives the private to succeed. Hmmm. Maybe there's a heart of gold underneath her brusque demeanor.
“Well,’ she still is staring at me impatiently, ‘you don’t really expect me to answer your own question, do you?” So much for my vision of a loving interior. She's insufferable. It takes me a moment to remember what we were talking about it.
Oh yes. Is it okay to claim that I write for myself, and yet care whether others read it? That was what I asked her. Apparently SHE has no intention of answering the question. And it looks like she aims to stand there until I do. What a crank.
So I raise one hand in the universal “hang on a second” sign, to which she mocks me by imitating it. “I’m thinking” I snap back.
Ugh. She really does bring out the worst in me sometimes. Yet I will confess, she does force me to think for myself.
So why do I write?
False modesty would insist that I don’t care if it’s good. But that’s not true. And I actually do give a damn whether anyone reads it. Because as hokey as it sounds, I want to help someone, somewhere. And if sharing my story does accomplish that desire, well, that’s a gratifying thought.
But the full honest answer of why I write, has a lot to do with the lessons that I’ve learned from my life. It’s the outpouring of ideas from my experiences. It’s the truths that she - the most disagreeable person I know - has forced me to face.
It’s so much more than saying “I write for myself”. I can’t deny that fact.
I write to remember the things that happened. To try and recapture details from the holes that exist in my head. Gaps that came about not from the normal passing of time; but rather from trauma and my body’s reaction to it. I write to recover the lost days, and to preserve the memories I do recall in vivid imagery.
I write for the times I was silenced. Told not to speak or that something didn’t happen - even though it did. I write for the moments where it’s “not polite for a good girl” to talk about a topic. I write because I do not have to fulfill someone else’s definition of a “good girl”. Not when it means harming myself.
I write for the things I’m not supposed to say. Because they are hard to hear, to listen to, or even to acknowledge that such things happen in this world. But I write because if we don’t talk about it, then we are complicit in allowing such things to happen. I refuse to be a partner to my own experiences of abuse. And I certainly don’t want to stand silent and ignore that to which I witness happening to others too.
I write to inspire those who feel stuck. To remind us all that we have choices - even if they are not the ones we want at that time. Because once upon a time, or twice upon a time, or even more times than I care to admit, I had convinced myself that I was stuck in a narrative that I didn’t want to be a part of. But the chains holding me there, could only be broken by me. I was part of creating them.
I write for the selfish pleasure of putting words on the page, of hearing them spoken aloud as I type. I do read them aloud. There is something sensual about getting the thoughts out of my head and onto paper, and then heard - even if just by me. So I write for the sheer joy of it.
I write because I can. Because I’ll be damned if I will allow anyone, ever again, to tell me that my thoughts don’t matter. That I am not enough. That any of us are not worthy to be seen and heard and valued.
I didn’t even realize that these thoughts of mine were now being screamed across the counter at her. I’m pissed that this bitch is once again insinuating that my creations - my thoughts, my words, my actions, my posts - are meaningless.
“I write because it’s my fuckin privilege to do so.” I’m livid now. “And I don’t have to explain myself to you of all people.” My breathing is heavy. I feel like I’ve been running a marathon.
Oddly enough, this mean girl who has taunted me my whole life, who no matter where I go or what I do, I cannot escape our insufferable relationship, this asshole looks at me steadily…and then, she freakin smiles.
“Oh look who is feeling all powerful’ she points at me with a grin, ‘it’s about time you grew a pair.”
For some reason, that imagery cracks me up. I’ve always had a raunchy sense of humor. “As if I wanted one of those,’ I’m giggling back, ‘no penis envy here. Don’t you always say ‘girl power’ and all that jazz?”
She rolls her eyes at me again. But before she can respond, I’m turning to leave. I’ve had enough. I swear I almost hear her whisper “that’s my girl…” but I can’t see her anymore. I’ve already walked away from the mirror, and out the bathroom door, ready to start my day.
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Tink, world traveler, positivity muse, and adult entertainer, has also freelance written for a number of companies as their ghostwriter. Now talking directly to YOU on this platform, she is also writing two books at her community's request.