Tuesday, March 3, 2015

For the record.

"We write for the record, for sanity, to see ourselves whole." 

~ Angella

A learner that I've worked with sent me some of her writing to read. She'd written a piece that she's considering having published and wanted my opinion. Her writing and her story was lovely. This morning I shared some observations and feedback. I was as honest as possible and let her know that I felt like she was holding something back. She then told me that much of what I was pushing her to do was the stuff that she'd typed and then deleted. And then typed again and deleted again.

"Why?" I asked. 

"I don't know," she replied. "Scared, maybe?"

"I'm always a little scared," I responded.


"Yep. But to me? Our best writing is brave. Be brave." 

That's what I said. And she got it. But then I stuck it on a post-it note in my head for myself because I needed that advice, too.


On a lot of days, I don't know what brave even is. But I guess I'll say it means. . .  authenticity within reason, you know? And the "within reason" part is for the individual to define. 

A writer whom I deeply, deeply respect said this to me today:

"We write for the record, for sanity, to see ourselves whole."

And this? This is everything. It is the bottom line of it all. I love these words because I read it as "we" meaning those who write but the "ourselves" being this entire world and every soul in it. I want to see ourselves whole. All of us. Writing helps with that.


On another note, I guess you probably looked at that snapshot and wondered what that was all about. I took this photograph of myself in November of 2012 just a few days after Deanna passed away. It was in the middle of the night and I was feverishly writing, writing, writing for sanity, to counter the pain and to push through the heavy metal door of this new normal without my beloved sissy in it. And much like the things I wrote back then, though complicated and perhaps too transparent for some, I feel glad to have turned a camera on myself that night. This image serves as a piece of that record. An important record. And it captures a time that I want to remember and allow myself to feel sometimes. 

I never posted this photo here or anywhere before today. I guess I wasn't brave enough. But today, that's how I'm feeling. Brave. LIke a lion of sorts.

It's weird. Though I never shared it, I've studied this photograph what feels like a million times. Each time, I see something new in it. Some days, all I see is my middle-of-the-night tired and droopy eyelid. Other days, I see more. I see myself trying to reconcile Deanna's death with my faith. I see sorrow on some days, anger on others. But especially, there is something that I always, always see. I see love. Unapologetic love. For the record.

That gives me great comfort. It may sound weird, but it does.

I will show this picture to my grandchildren someday. Or at least I hope someone will. And I will let them study it, too--for the record. They can see how much I loved my sister, Deanna, their auntie, of whom they are descendants. And I hope my boys will grow into men and read the words I wrote during that time. I do. Words that will bridge their fuzzy childhood memories to the adult account of their mother during the same time. And give them a full picture of how love lives on and on and on. I also hope that even if my mind starts to run away from me  as I grow older that images like this and the words that accompany them will anchor me, serving as my registry, my testimony, and a reminder of the many pieces of this dream I live each day.

Yeah. That's what I hope.

So yes. We write for the record, for sanity, to see ourselves whole. 

Yes. That.

That is all.

Happy Tuesday. 

Now playing on my mental iPod. . . Sara Bareilles singing what I often feel is the soundtrack of my bravest writing. Her question, "I wonder what would happen if you say what you want to say and let the words fall out? Honestly, I want to see you be brave." Me, too.


  1. I really like this one, Mizzy. When I saw the picture, I thought it would make me cry. Okay, it did, because I know exactly what you were feeling. But the words of the post were comforting.

    I have a picture of myself that I took at work on November 15, 2012. I go back and look at it periodically and think, "The JoLai had NO idea that her life was about to be turned upside down." It the last picture of me before our new normal began. I'm not even sure why I wrote that, but your picture made me think of it.

    I love you.

  2. you teach me with every post how to be brave. there is such goodness at the core of you. i bask in it.

  3. It is hard to be brave, to say what's in your heart, in your mind, without worrying about being judged by others. And that song, I love it. Thank you.

  4. You ARE brave -- just like a lion. Lately, your words here have taken on renewed strength, even fire.

  5. It's such a beautiful image because it is so honest. Thank you for sharing.


"Tell me something good. . . tell me that you like it, yeah." ~ Chaka Khan

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