Talking About What Scares You Makes It Less Scary

Everyday, for the last year, I open my laptop and start typing.  I open my blog (on this site or on my fashion blog), or write in one of six open Google Docs that will hopefully become a book (someday). The cursor usually stares me in the face for a few minutes before I can get my fingers to move. What am I supposed to write about?  Which stories should I tell? What should I share? How much is too much? I know people don’t want to see me in my writing. They want to see themselves in it. As a writer, I am driven to tell stories. I want people to read my words. I want to inspire people, especially women. I want them to feel something, to think, to see things differently after reading something that came from my brain. My voice (or, at least, the writing I do on the internet), has already inspired hundreds of thousands of people to step forward and talk about their mental illness with their loved ones after an article I wrote, What Kate Spade, Anthony Bourdain, Me, and 45 Million Americans Have In Common, went viral. As of late, I’m at a place in my life where the stories and the truth that flow out of my fingers are stories of my own pain and my own path. I have been able to process trauma using words, but I’ve also been able to make people laugh. At the same time, it feels selfish to keep writing about my own shit, my own baggage, my own issues — especially as a young woman who has, by all measure, lived a life of privilege — when there are so many other people struggling so much more than I am.  My struggles feel invalid, and then, saying that feels like I’m downplaying my own experiences. What matters most is the story and the truth. The truth needs to come first. But which stories should I actually tell? I’ve experienced sexual assault. I’ve experienced domestic violence. I’ve been battling mental illness. But —it’s hard to speak about assault. It’s hard to speak about domestic violence. It’s hard to speak about violence against women. It’s hard to speak about mental illness. I know it’s important to speak up for ourselves, for our own identities, to acknowledge our stories and our experiences. I don’t want to talk about the actual events, the people, and the feeling of immortal fear. And yet, I have this… unexplainable pull, like, this drive… this… obsession, with writing about the shit I’ve been through. I find that feeling that stops me from putting the details out into the world is that it’s really fucking scary. I keep asking myself why I’m so scared. What is there to be afraid of? As I ask myself these questions, I realize that writing and talking about what scares me gives me more power over it. Talking about what scares you makes it less scary. I know one voice can inspire others, and I know one voice can start a movement.. but what movement am I trying to start? What message is there to say here? Do my stories even help? Which stories should I tell? Honesty and openness have always been my biggest strengths. I love connecting with people, and I think people love connecting with me through my writing too. I’d like to keep doing that.

Author: Becca Risa Luna

Seattle-based fashion writer and personal essayist. Likes designer handbags, glaring openness, and subtle vulgarity.

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