Temporarily, I have to suspend my usual 100 Happy Days updates Today, I am going to write about WRITING. This sounds stupid but this means a lot to me and this is my blog so I will write it.
Two days ago, I wrote a semi-explosive article that got published on a famous social media citizen journalism website.
Being a freelancer for the last decade, I am quite used to being published but this piece is extra special because I basically exposed things I hid from my psyche from as far back as elementary school. These were things that I do not even want to discuss with my friends over dinner but now I exposed them to thousands of readers online.
Writing about this experience required me to relive the PAIN of being bullied and discriminated against. And it was not easy. But I knew that I had to do it for the sake of those who might be victimized because I did not write about it and warn them albeit indirectly.
I believe that some curious people will start googling my name out of hate, curiosity or whatever. For them, I am this audacious illegitimate child blogger who broadcasted her life story to expose an abusive clerk in her parish.
I know that people can poke fun at my misfortune, throw me hate mail, or commiserate with my misery. But it hardly matters now.
The article got thousands of reactions from various strata of social media. Being a person who does not have a Facebook account, I am quite thankful because I was only able to see a bit of Twitter reactions and comments directed from the blog post itself.
Despite the judgments and namecalling and snide remarks, I was comforted by the kindness of strangers who understood my plight and fully understood what the article stood for.
The piece was a double-edged sword. People can just interpret it in any way that they please.
I make it a point to stop myself from reading my publicized articles beyond the third day of being published because it’s time to part with my “babies” the moment the document flies out of my computer and launches itself permanently into cyberspace.
For emotionally charged articles that expose a lot of my personal life if only to drive home a very important concept, reading the article again relives the horrifying experience and additional comments from people make it more difficult to move past the experience.
Externally, people will think that this article was a writing success in that it elicited a lot of reactions of people from all walks of life. I got compliments, troll comments, judgments, and many things after I wrote it. It elicited all emotions, if basing it on the output of the mood meter at the side of the post.
After I posted it, I CRIED buckets. I was a mess. I am always a mess when I write about difficult topics.
I suffer with the anxiety of basically letting out a bit of myself in my writing. I realized that writing about important things, about the things that genuinely mean the world to me, requires me to give of myself, a part that I do not necessarily get back again after it has flown out of my mind and into the article being typed. That part begins to develop a life of its own and you have to DETACH yourself from it.
Writing requires STRENGTH, AUDACITY, and COURAGE.
I had none of those, really. I forced it all out of me this one time because I had this inner desire to unveil something sinister and extraordinarily unfair, and purge it out of my system.
For this piece, warning other people who might be victimized by the parish clerk was more important than safeguarding my identity as an illegitimate child.
This is the life of a person who really wants to write topics that matter or last. You weigh whether your comfort zone is more important than exposing something or doing something about whatever talent/skill with words that you have. And you end up scratching the itch to write about those important and meaningful topics sometimes even at the expense of yourself. And when you do it, you will also have to be emotionally ready for the storm that comes out after people start reacting to it.
I have written about cute stuff in lifestyle articles ten years ago. That was how I started out. In 2011, I consulted a really prolific writer and poet because I felt like I was STAGNATING in my writing. He agreed. He knew exactly what I meant, and he did provide resources but I knew that I was missing some detail that keeps me stagnated in my writing.
Finally, this 2014, I understood the thing that kept me stagnated: EXCESSIVE FEAR.
Even when I have been writing for a decade, I hardly write about dangerous topics like religion or faith matters. I did not write about things that will implicate me to take a stand and put my byline on it in the face of the mass public.
This is the first time that I have actually done it. And I felt that I have gone past the stagnated phase, at long last.
When I wrote that article which got me unstuck from my past mode of writing, I was filled with so much uncertainty that I asked lots of people to take a look at it.
It took a full hour to construct it and my soon-to-be husband reviewed the document with two other lawyers to make sure that I did not go out of line legally. The kind people at Rappler edited the piece. They made it more refined and less cluttered and emotional. That’s another lesson: a good piece of writing needs pairs of eyes to help improve it before you catapult it to the eyes of the reading public.
After I wrote it, I felt like I just passed a violent phase of my journey in writing. I penetrated some sort of barrier in my writing ability that used to keep me from writing the pieces that actually convey the deepest parts of my mind.
Before, I used to write only about SAFE TOPICS, topics that do not spark a shit storm or rock the boat of people’s beliefs.
Now, I realize that I cannot really call myself a genuinely aspiring writer without having a mechanism or suitable technique for handling the emotional after effects and verbal storms that come out of reactions from a spicily written piece.
It’s not to sensationalize, really. It was more of my increasing realization that writing is supposed to mean something, to express convictions firmly, to go DEEP beyond what other people will dare think, to be FACING the unknown all the time in front of a blank page, and to give MORE than what you are comfortable of typing out.
It may germinate as an idea or a concept from a significant life experience, but later the piece will form itself in your head and it will have a life of its own.
So yes, this is the last time I will speak of my explosive piece. And I will spend the rest of the year ruminating on what this implies for me as far as writing is concerned. I certainly hope that it will lead to better things.