Show Me Your Bones: How To Tell the Truth

It seems so easy.

But sometimes we lie so well to ourselves that we get lost in what is truth and what is fiction.

This weekend, I had a chance to meet Cheryl Strayed, the best selling author of  “Wild”.

Cheryl during her hike.
Cheryl during her hike.

During an interview with Joe Donahue, she was asked what prompted her to write her book.

She said that her husband suggested that her 1,000 mile lone hike on the Pacific Crest Trail would make a fantastic story.

“Thank God,” she said.  “I don’t have to write another story about my mother.”

Cheryl’s mother passed away when Cheryl was only 22.

Once it was complete, Wild ended up being a story about her journey….
and about dealing with the loss of her mother.

I asked her how she had thought that originally the story of Wild would have nothing to do with the loss of her mother.

Part of her was embarrassed about writing again about her mother’s death, she said, as if she should have been expected to be over it by then.  But when she went deep into writing, she uncovered her truths and wrote them down, and as a result, many people identified with her feelings, and connected with her story.

I understand about being embarrassed to write about something.  I feel that way every time I write about the fire.  I feel like people will think – why isn’t she over it yet?

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I’ll never be over it.

I’ll never be over my best friend dying in my arms.

I’ll never be over my parents horrible divorce and how I missed out on years of my mom’s life because I made the mistake of refusing to speak to her.

I’ll never be over the loss of Greta.

The last bits of advice Cheryl gave to me were:

Write what you’re obsessed with.   Write the truth.  And write like a motherfucker.

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When I started writing notes for my book a year ago, I didn’t go deep enough into the truth.  When I went back and read all the things I had written, they seemed superficial at points, barely grazing the surface of what I really wanted to talk about.  I thought I was being honest then, but it took writing and uncovering and digging for a year to figure out what the real truths are.

Much like it took Cheryl years to figure out that her hike on the Pacific Crest Trail, alone and without any experience, was subconsciously part of a healing from losing her Mom at such a young age.

There is no How To on this.  It takes time.  Our deepest truths are the hearts of our stories.

We are the only ones that can tell our story.

I am taking Cheryl’s advice.

So let me start something like this:

I am full of flaws.
I am sometimes extremely angry.
I am sometimes jealous and ugly.
I am sometimes beautiful.
I am sometimes good and kind.
I am always curious.
I am sometimes strong, brave and courageous.
I am sometimes falling apart at the seams.

I will tell you all about that here.

I will tell you all in my beloved book project that keeps me writing everyday by pen or by fingers to keys.

Here is my own truth for today….
I can’t please all the time.  I can’t.  I have to let that go.

I like myself better there anyway.

And you can know not the caricature of me but the person herself.

I can’t be everything to everyone.  I just need to shine my light, and go out there and do my thing.

People will hate me.  People will love me.

And I am finally really okay with both of those things.

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Challenging myself to write here every single week in the Danger Diaries for the past five months has made me dig deeper, made me fight harder, and made me uncover my own bones.

And I offer them, humbly, to you.

Thank you for responding truthfully in the comments and continuing the conversation.
Thank you for sharing the Danger Diaries with your friends.
Thank you for taking the time out of your day to read this and meeting me here, every week on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays.

I’ll keep showing up every time for this moment with you.

Tell me what you want to know.  Tell me a wild truth of your own.  Tell me your discoveries in this adventure of life.

Take my hand and let’s do this.

 

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