I read other artists whose pain glides across the page in lyrical renditions and subtle similes. Loss portrayed as paintings of dark shadows gently call attention to what otherwise none would dare witness. Their words artfully craft scars into delicate criss-crosses tinged with red sparing us  harshness. Their reward, our scripted praise for helping us sidestep those pesky WHYs.

Art protects like cropping photos. Zooming in on a single flower or a child’s smiling face  evokes a warm, pleasant response. Now pull the lens back, reveal the above in the midst of a war zone and suddenly our discomfort grows. Oh how we must remedy this in our soul. We do the same with language. It shields us from bloated bodies floating in rivers, children forced to perform sex acts, the homeless dying in our streets, the underbelly of hope. Good writing, cloaked in universal themes, presents a delicate balance of darkness, loss, injustice with objective distance, internal healing, sage reflection. We’re guaranteed a feel good ending where the cruelest moments transcend into something praiseworthy. Victims morph into our survivors, heros, inspiration.

Not me. I prefer the uncensored. Stark. Raw. Candid  Feel with me or not at all. My life cannot be neatly summed up in metaphor or symbolism. Still, I am a good writer. I’ve learned to manipulate what has destroyed me into capsules of descriptive sentences that even the most delicate of heart can swallow with the shedding of a few tears. To compromise, I lie truthfully.  I give readers what they crave: the reflective, calm voice of one who is dying. They call me resilient. I disagree. The label is not  for me but for the ones who must believe this is what I have become. The human spirit must rise. The human spirit prevails. The human spirit cannot weep so long. This, we must believe, even if so many stories prove otherwise.

Uncensored I frighten even myself; so, the compromise serves a dual purpose. I am here. I wrestle with my truths. I cannot rant  in pretty little sentences. My life is staccato, jagged, fragments. I’m still here to impart the living nightmares, the unhealed spots, the ravaged spirit that truly are mine. To leave trembling, uneasy, sleepless the readers who dare follow me.