Over the past few years, I’ve developed a sincere interest in expressing myself through the writing process, due in great part to having taken a handful of classes offered by a writer friend of mine, all of which I found to be quite inspiring and helpful. During the most recent, I suggested to another participant that the most valuable quality a writer can possess is honesty. I happened to be reading a couple of memoirs at the time, Paul Auster’s Winter Journal and Truth & Beauty: A Friendship by Anne Patchett, and the genuineness and transparency of both authors had a real impact on me.
I truly admire those who possess the courage to write openly and with dignity about themselves and their experiences of being human—what a gift to those with the good fortune to receive their words. I can’t help but believe that writing in such a straightforward, unabashed manner must be intimidating at first, if not always. And I imagine that those who do so must have reached a time in there lives when they no longer felt they had a choice; when the pain of hiding was far greater than any they feared experiencing as the result of telling their stories and allowing themselves to be seen.
While it may not necessarily lead to the writing of a memoir, I believe the counseling experience can, nevertheless, provide a unique opportunity for anyone tired of hiding—writer or otherwise—to practice the gradual dropping of one’s persona in the interest of emerging more willing to share one’s authentic self with the world.