Earlier this week I came across an insightful link from Laura L. Hedgecock about why you should write about no good terrible horrible very bad days.
Normally bloggers write these kind of responses to things they vehemently disagree with, but I actually agree with much of what Laura has to say. The purpose of this reply is not to paint a black and white world in which everyone needs to pick one side and stick with it come hell or high water. Anyone who has read more than a handful of my posts knows that’s not my style in the least.
It’s important to find a healthy balance in life, though, so here are my six reasons why you should not write no good terrible horrible very bad days. I hope you read both lists and pick and choose the parts of each one that work best for you:
Some things in life are private.
There are ways to deal with the unpleasant parts of life – whether it’s as trivial as a rude encounter with a stranger or as serious as dealing with a relative who is suffering from an untreated mental illness – without revealing every last detail of it to the outside world.
Once it’s out there, you can’t take it back.
Today it’s even easier for something you wrote to be preserved forever, especially if it ends up online. There’s no way to predict ahead of time where an email, blog post, or note might end up. There’s also no way to erase it if it does go viral.
My maternal grandparents own things that were written by our ancestors many generations ago. Just because you wrote it down in a diary or on a letter is no guarantee that someone won’t find it valuable. Unless you personally destroy it, there is always a chance that anything you write might still be around in 150 years.
It’s not necessarily your story to tell.
A lot of the rough times in my life have involved the suffering of people I love. I have mixed feelings about discussing this kind of stuff in such a permanent way, so I generally process it either in quiet conversations with those closest to me or by taking long walks instead.
Once enough time has passed, I may change my mind and write about it after all. But I’m pretty protective of the privacy of my friends and family members, and I’d much rather wish I’d said something sooner than regret doing it too soon.
The truth always comes out with time.
I grew up in a family that did not condone gossip in any form. We were taught to look for the good in other people and to say nothing at all if we truly couldn’t think of anything positive to say.
That’s not to say that we ignored the faults in others though. We simply believed that the truth is far too powerful to be held back permanently. They might be fooled temporarily, but eventually everyone will figure out what’s really going on. There’s simply no need to open their eyes before they’re ready to see the truth.
Sometimes emotional reactions can be contradictory or hard to explain.
No two people react the same way to hardship. There are many factors that influence why certain experiences might be much more (or less!) difficult for one person than it is for another. Just because I found experience X easy to deal with doesn’t mean that you will. I’ve also had times when my emotional reaction to something has evolved over time. A topic that was excruciatingly painful 5 or 10 years ago might not be so today.
It can be hard for some people to understand that not everyone feels things the way they do, which leads me to my next point.
Not everyone gets it.
In fact, some of them will go out of their way to take offence at whatever it is they don’t think you’re doing correctly in your life. The more volatile the subject matter, the more likely they are to come out of the woodwork.
I don’t judge those who make other choices, but I choose to give this group of people as little ammunition as possible. There are a lot of amazing people in my life who do understand. I’d much rather ask them in private what they think instead.
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