A guilty pleasure turned into a thought-provoking exercise a few days ago. Over morning tea, slightly mad from endless torrents of rain on the roof, I clicked on one of those Facebook personal ‘analysis’ sites using my name. Here is what popped up:
I want to point out a few trails of thought from this (creepy)(not-so-wrong)random device:
For one, how does this search engine find these descriptions? I post my blog, WordNest, on Facebook. Ok, there (here) are my opinions out in the open air. But how does this searcher know how often I have been skewered in writing groups for showing the underbelly of caregiving? And kept going?
Memoir is the writing version of the ‘Janet Jackson‘ moment — the bodice ripping moment where writers show intensely private pieces of their story to the public. I have been criticized/questioned/confronted for my dirty underwear truthfulness, taken to task that this story is about being Florence Nightingale and also her ugly cousin. Inevitably, the words go viral through the writing groups and beyond (“she’s writing sort of a revealing book…”). And how does that search engine know I go back to the Nest, pour a (large) goblet of white Bordeaux and instead of crying in my glass say “HAAHA, THAT got their attention!”
Is that “not giving a shit?”(Sorry. I quote. I try to avoid that kind of language here.)
Actually, reader, that is me really and truly caring. About you, about my story, about the sanity of caregiving. Because we try so hard to make ourselves perfect when in fact the bodice can rip at any moment and, truthfully readers, does rip — alcohol, anger, disassociation, bad decisions, challenging medical advice and care, words we regret happen as often during illness and caregiving as those life-affirming moments we never forget and carry us through the rest of our life.
Illness cracked me at the root at twenty-one. But I came from strong, vital root stock. So here I am, facing the beasts, tipping over the laundry basket of the story.
But Alexandra is smart. She has listened to many caregiving stories and lived them herself.
She keeps writing.