The decision to write a personal essay about my life was one of the hardest choices I’ve ever made. And if you think I didn’t give the issue a good deal of thought, you don’t know me at all, and/or you haven’t been reading my personal essays.
When indulging in any kind of decision-making, I make a list of the pros and cons, throw that away, and then do whatever my heart tells me. I suddenly realized that I had to express what was inside me, as well as a little bit about who was inside me. And I’ve never once looked back, except to write this personal essay.
Just a warning: This personal essay is about to get personal.
I didn’t always think that I’d be writing personal essays; I graduated from Middlebury with a comparative literature major and got my MFA from Columbia, taking a brief break in between to teach English in India. I always imagined I’d write a novel and eventually teach college, but life has a funny way of working out in the most unexpected ways. Who would have thought that it would be my most exploitative, raw, salacious experiences people would want to hear about?
Now, I would be lying to you if I told you that my eyes were entirely devoid of dollar signs when I wrote this essay. No, I didn’t get paid for it, but it received thousands of Facebook shares, which my editor told me would be great exposure. So far I’ve received several negative personal attacks, but those people are probably going through their own personal struggles.
For the most part, responses to my essay have been positive and heartwarming. I am so glad that my words have helped others discover themselves. To those who have cast doubts on the truthfulness of my personal essay, I quote Tim O’Brien: “I want you to feel what I felt. I want you to know why story-truth is truer sometimes than happening-truth.” It’s called creative nonfiction, after all.
Sure, I have some regrets, and I would like to take this opportunity to apologize to those I’ve offended, humiliated, and/or alienated. To my sugar daddy, we didn’t explicitly talk about not writing a personal essay that described the hairy swirls upon your back, but that was implied, so I’m sorry about that. To my boyfriend, I’m sorry I didn’t tell you about the sugar daddy. To my father, daddy issues just perform well on social; I love you. To my potential employers, it was fiction.
Anyway, I thought I would share my story with you in the hopes that even one person reading it will learn from my experiences. That’s why I got into this “business” in the first place. I take it very personally.