Writing Without Fear: Free-Form Writing Prompt
I read a piece by Rick Lewis that was inspired by a very simple writing prompt. Write for 15 minutes without editing, without stopping, then hit “publish.”
No editing. No proofreading. Just me, a keyboard, and 15 minutes. So here I sit, desperately trying to overcome my need for approval, overthinking it, breathing deeply, scared. Actually, honestly scared. Okay. Here I go.
I kind of hate summer. It’s my scars, the ones on my arms and legs, the scars I gave myself over years and years. I can’t tan, because we all know there’s no such thing as a healthy tan, so I self-tan with crap from a tube and sometimes it works and sometimes I look like a weird tiger-woman hybrid. But I do it anyway, to try and hide my scars.
People have noticed them over the years. Sometimes I tell them “I used to be in the circus and I worked with tigers.” Sometimes I tell them I was in an industrial accident. More recently, however, I told someone the truth. I said “I’m a borderline, and one of my coping skills used to be cutting myself. These are the scars from those moments when the emotions in my soul were so painful, the only thing I could was bleed.”
She looked at me. Frowned. I thought “here comes the judgment or the pity or the insult or the derision.” Nope. She hugged me. She hugged the stuffing out of me. She tried to hug my scars away.
It’s warm here, now, and I am wearing the short-sleeved shirts and the shorts and I wonder. But I look at my scars and I realize I am a bad-ass warrior queen. I even have a tattoo on the inside of my left wrist that reads “warrior,” except the “i” is replaced with a semi-colon to remind me I’m not finished with me journey. The tattoo covers my earliest scars, carved into my skin when I was just 11 or 12. That’s young, I know, but I’ve been a bordreline for a really really really really long time.
Can I fix spelling mistakes? Nope, just keep typing, even though my anxiety is ab out a 6 now. Shit. See, I love writing, and I’ve been told by other good wrtiers (Preston and Child, A.J. Jacobs, Andrew Pyper, Anne Rice) that I’m a good writer. The idea of writing withought editing or stopping or really even thinking is uncomfortable but I’m doingit aren’t i? Yes I am, I am writing like this and it’s fine.
Waiting for the timer to go off. Goddamn this is hard. Okay, right. I wrote an article earlier this year about the Japanese art form of putting broken pottery back together with liquid gold, and how survivors of trauma are like those broken pieces. We’re more beautiful because we were broken. We’re not perfect, but who is? I mean really, who the hell is perfect? I’m certainly not, but I wanted to be when I was little.
That’s why, I think, I had eating disorders. My mom was really thin and glamorous and I was not so thin and defintely not glamorous. But I wanted to be, so my mom would love me. I was anorexic first, then, realizing how much I loved food, I became bulimic. At one point, I weighed 88 pounds. My mom thought I looked great. When I started gaining weight back, when I started being healthy, she didn’t think I looked great anymore.
Mother’s Day is coming, and I have all the feelings. I miss my mom a lot, and at the same time, I’m glad she’s not here to insult me or manipulate me or try to make me feel like shit about myself.
And that’s why I have scars all over my arms and legs, and even a few on my face. Cutting used to be the only way I knew to drown out the pain, the screaming in my head, and honestly, my mother’s voice. I loved her so much, as many children often love their abuser/tormentor. I tried to please her, I tried to get her to love me, I tried fucking everything. Eventually, when I was too old to need a mother, she figured it out. We became best friends. She adored my son. I beleive he was the only person she ever loved unconditionally.
Mom and my son used to paint together. She helped teach him to read.