Casualties of Storytelling

Without naming names, my writing here has made me something of a pariah in certain circles. I don’t like this, conflict isn’t necessarily something I relish. I’ve got to work through some thoughts, stay with me.

I’m torn in several directions, a rope tied to each ankle and wrist, pulling me everywhere and nowhere. Part of me is taken aback by anyone taking offense. I suppose I didn’t see that anyone could have any issue with the way I’ve told my stories or expressed my opinions. This is naive, I know. But to me, it felt like the retelling of any story: details give clarity, so you tell the audience what it needs to know in order to “get” the story. Seeing as I’m telling my own stories centered around me, I give relevant details, some of which can be construed as negative, but nevertheless, I’m laying it out and letting you decide.

Part of me wonders why anyone ever cares enough to confront anyone else. I can’t imagine a situation whereby I read an article online and I was moved to threats or insults. I don’t have the energy for that level of aggression or conflict. Inviting that sort of confrontation over text or messaging, it just seems like something a kid would do. So, I abstain.

Part of me acknowledges that in my telling of things, I slant the narrative. It’s nearly impossible not to when you’re telling your side of the story. If it’s from my perspective, from my personal life, it’s going to be skewed towards how I saw it. These are memoirs, not journalism. I’m not reporting this, I’m telling my own story. 

And the last part of me knew I would upset some people, but I’m surprised and disappointed by their reactions. Did I expect confrontation? Honestly, no, I did not. That was wishful thinking. But I never imagined I’d receive the vitriol and retaliatory threats that I did. Once again, naive. But, I underestimated the effect on others, and I am sorry for that. Having said that, they’re my stories to tell.

Now I find myself in a quandary. If I want to tell stories, am I bound to upset someone? I only intend to be as vulnerable as possible, telling stories that I wouldn’t think to tell in public. I have to divulge certain things, even if I leave out names, for the sake of the story’s cohesion. I guess what I’m saying is that I intend to continue being vulnerable in my writing, regardless of how it makes me look. Characters therein serve only to shape the stories I tell, I’m not out to “dish” about anyone but myself. They’re not attacks, they’re not admissions, they’re my stories to tell.

Published by Christopher Goodlof

Writer, Visual Artist, Musician

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