I was reading through some of my essays last week and I had to pause and ask myself if I was saying too much. The essays are based on the way I remember certain events in my life, and some of them deal greatly with other members of my family.
One essay in particular deals with my feelings about being “gifted” a sweatsuit one Christmas when my other cousins got pretty dresses. I touch on how that affected me in general, but also how it made me think of the aunt who gave that gift (still using gift lightly here). Reading over it, I thought of what my aunt or my mom would think about that particular piece, and if it would cause any sort of tension.
See, I have a habit of seriously considering other people’s feelings, sometimes at the expense of my own desires. It goes against the live your truth narrative, but it’s one of my spectacular personality traits (read that sarcastically). So what do I do? And is there really such a thing as revealing too much when the story is about me and how I experience the world?
I guess the first thing to note is that just because I wrote it doesn’t mean someone is going to publish it. But what if I decide to self-publish? Should I allow the individuals who have leading roles in particular essays to read them before I finalize the work? Do I have a responsibility to consider the feelings of others when discussing my personal experiences just because they were involved?
I’m tossing these questions “out there” in hopes that I’ll get the answers I need—be it from you, God, the Universe, or my internal narrator.
What do you think is too much when it comes to writing stories that involve people in your personal life? How do you handle the complexity of it all?
Let me know.