Recently in a writing workshop, someone posed a really valid question about personal essay-ing/memoir-ing, but I think they were asking a bigger question about me personally. "Don't you want to leave all that mess behind you?"
(By mess, I can only assume they were referring to the landfill of mistakes I made from the time I could make any decision for myself. ) I guess for me, the answer is no. I took drugs, I slept with the wrong guys, I didn't sleep with the right guys, I lied, I cheated, I did all those things that no one wants to admit they did. Who cares?
They went on to say they loved what I was doing, but they asked, and I'm paraphrasing here, if I was concerned what my parents, friends, colleagues (who am I kidding), and most importantly, my kid would think.
Well first of all, it's a little late for that. I mean it's out there, that stuff- in a book, online, on recorded audio. The people that know and love me are probably already clued in to the "deep dark bowels" of my past. And, then there's the kid factor. Yes, one day he will have access to reading/hearing things about me- things that I put out there. I hope that it will open up an honest dialogue between us, so he can avoid slipping down those roads.
I have said this before and it remains true for me- I have no desire to run from my past, "to leave all that mess behind me."
That mess is part of me, for better or worse.