I love being a writer. I’m glad being a writer gives me the means to share my stories and to advocate for my children. But, honestly, sometimes it sucks, because impacting the lives of others requires sharing my own, especially the painful moments.
I’m working on a book that I describe as a “persuasive memoir.” It’s more than a typical memoir, but it relies on sharing my experiences to show how I got to where I am. I’m also collaborating on a book about special education, and this first one that we’re working on focuses on what parents need to know when they’re just getting started. It seemed, from the conversation I was having with my collaborator, that he thought I sort of knew what I was doing when I first entered the world of special education. But I didn’t. So, I had to put into context for him what my entry into special education was really like. And then, he wanted me to write up that story for the book.
It hurts. Even though I’ve moved on from these moments, even though I understand the importance of sharing them, it hurts to write them down. Part of my process in writing is to immerse myself in the moment again, to capture how it felt and what was going through my head. I’ve come a long way since these moments, but going back to them still hurts. Perhaps it always will.
But this is what I do. It’s what I need to do. By sharing my experiences, I help those who are living them now to know they are not alone in those experiences, and that there is a time after those experiences when things do get better. It’s about humanity and hope; it’s also about helping others to get the information and wisdom that I lacked, that I wished I’d had, without having to come the long way around to discover it.
And sharing my experiences with a professional of the caliber of my collaborator also benefits me. I’m still learning. The curve is steep, and I’m still climbing. Every new bit of information, every trick, every technique helps me to serve my own children better. Sharing that with others helps them to serve their kids better. And, in the end, the world will be a slightly better place for the work I’m doing.
That’s worth doing. But that only makes the pain worthwhile, not less.