Who doesn’t love a story so heart wrenching, you’re left with a bib of your own tears after reading it? Or a story so painfully humiliating you relive the embarrassment as if were your own? Or perhaps a moment so tender you feel almost like an intruder reading it? Everyone. I want to and will parade into that private moment just as drown myself in humiliation and sob in a sea of my own tears. Some masochistic part of us seeks out the literature that kills us inside.  Discomfort when reading is weirdly...comforting. It’s like that car crash you can’t look away from or that all too politically enraged uncle who you should kindly ask to stop talking, but kind of want to hear what he says. Writing like this offers you the chance to relish in an experience that is all too relatable. It’s like pat on the back and a “we’ve all been there.”

The difficult part lies in claiming ownership for these more painful reflections. It’s not easy revealing a part of yourself that may have never been exposed to anyone but perhaps yourself and your pen and paper.  

But I welcome the writer who fearlessly recounts the moment they sprinted the last mile of a marathon because they had to take a dump; or the adventurer who documented a surreal Airbnb experience in a house filled with China dolls; or the dreamer who poetically described the difficulties of coming face to face with losing oneself in a new job. It’s the weird things and the painful things and the confusing things that we ought to explore.

I admire those willing to take that leap of faith and share the sensitive moments, and graciously thank the reader that embraces them.

Writing has no rules. So I won’t play by any.  I invite the reader who can handle my sporadic train of thought, which within a moment, can transform from a pensive observation to a melodramatic rant. And while I’d love to one day conclude this passage with a quote of my own, this is my mantra for now:

“The thing you are most afraid to write. Write that.”


-Nayyirah Waheed