I know I may have mentioned how unnerving it’s been to write my memoir. It’s scary really. It’s scary to think about publishing it too. But I always knew that I wanted to write it. I did purposely wait until my parents passed away – not that this mattered in the scheme of things. Neither one of them would have bothered to read it. And now that they are gone and I have written it, I do not feel any less guilty about all that.
My parents may have not been the greatest. Perhaps that’s an extraordinary understatement. But I still loved them. Tremendously. It didn’t feel good to paint them with such an ugly brush. I honored them as much as I could. Really. But the brush I used was also the truth, and that was what I was sticking to. I had to keep telling myself every time I felt shitty revealing the abuses or the dysfunctional madness, I need to write my truth.
I struggled though. Severely. I am still struggling. Because, one of the main dysfunctions that went on in my family, is/was denial. Flat out refusal, perhaps a disbelief of the truth. I’ve never known which. I’ve never known to what degree they were/weren’t aware of their ignorance.
Just before I was finishing up the last draft, I spoke to my brother, who is obviously a main “character” in my story. I let him know that he might not like how he is portrayed in a number of incidents in the book and he had no idea why there would be any incidents that were troublesome. In fact, he felt we had a “really nice childhood.”
Ever since then, I have been second guessing my whole life, and the entire book. If any of you have older brothers out there. If you are the youngest sibling, you may understand what I’m talking about. There is so much residual from the weightiness of his words. They mean a lot to me, or they used to. Am I nuts? Am I making this shit up? Are my filters so skewed that I haven’t seen reality for what it really was? And it goes on and on. I’m always checking myself because I want to give him the benefit of the doubt. Because he’s my brother and I love him, of course.
But he can hardly remember what happened last week, much less our childhood, so how can he be certain that X,Y, and Z “definitely did not happen?” He also had an entirely different childhood than I did, and he won’t cop to that either.
So publishing is complicated, and he’s just one element. There are a lot of other people to consider too. But one thing is for sure – from everything I’ve been studying up on memory – no two people remember things exactly the same way. All of our brains are wired differently and we experience stuff differently. However, that doesn’t take away, excuse or erase certain material facts. Things that really happened no matter “how” anyone claims they’ve experienced them.