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The Paragraph I Promised
All I had were my secrets. All I knew was my shame.
Excerpt from My Manuscript, Chapter 2:
A decade before our artificial truce, I yelled at you when you told me you lost your virginity.
At least that’s what you tell everyone.
Honestly, I don’t remember.
I just remember your face: eyes wide and wild, mischief creasing the corners of your mouth. I thought we’d chat about the usual: soccer, school, Tommy.
Tommy was the shy, six-foot-five football player that asked you to be his girlfriend a few weeks prior. A title you dreamt of donning since childhood, back when you made the Barbies mom bought you get married under the swings.
You closed the lockless door to your lavender room and lowered your voice to a whisper.
“I did it!” you squealed.
“Did what?” I asked, stretching one leg onto the bed.
“Nakes, I did it. Tommy and I had sex.”
I remember your face: eyes searching, cheeks high and hopeful. Desperate for an “oh my god,” a “give me the details,” or any sign of admission into the secret club of womanhood you assumed I belonged to. You didn’t know I was never a member of that sparkly safe space where knowledge of pleasure, desire, and our bodies abounds.
All I had were my secrets.
All I knew was my shame.
If I yelled at you, I’m sorry.
I was only yelling at myself.
This series is about getting more comfortable with the never-ending, magically forgiving process of revision. In the words of Annie Dillard:
One of the few things I know about writing is this: spend it all, shoot it, play it, lose it, all, right away, every time. Do not hoard what seems good for a later place in the book, or for another book; give it, give it all, give it now. The impulse to save something good for a better place later is the signal to spend it now. Something more will arise for later, something better.
These things fill from behind, from beneath, like well water. Similarly, the impulse to keep to yourself what you have learned is not only shameful, it is destructive. Anything you do not give freely and abundantly becomes lost to you. You open your safe and find ashes.
Thank you for letting me share lil’ snippets of my manuscript and the 4th season of Passing Through The Podcast every week.