She’s a good writer but why does she have to write about that?
The words struck me hard. I wanted to cry on the spot. Instead, I told myself what nonfiction writers are supposed to tell themselves.
No one is making you do this, so suck it up princess.
This first bit of criticism was delivered by one of my dearest and closest friends. She and her mother had been discussing my blog the night before. Confused, her mother questioned why I felt I needed to write a memoir. Why would I draw attention to what happened to me? Why make everyone so uncomfortable?
I know what this looks like. I think about it every day.
Girl exploits family in the name of art.
If there was a way for me to tell this story without having to involve others, I would. It just isn’t possible. I have no memory of the day I was taken or why. I need family members to help me fill in the gaps.
Anyone who knows me knows I care deeply for others. I routinely put other people’s needs in front of my own. I’m a nurturing person who enjoys loving, appreciating and taking care of the people around me. Embarking on this journey of self-discovery has been hard for me because I know it may make the people I love uncomfortable. That’s not my role in life. My role is to make people happy.
When I was little, my Nanny taught me to face my troubles.
Terra-Lee. When you have an issue you should talk it out. That’s the only way to make things better.
Dear friends: Please forgive me for this moment of self-indulgence. My life makes me uncomfortable and I need to talk it out. I need you to know that I’m sorry my mother lost her youth having a baby so young. I want to tell you I’m sorry my grandparents had to make so many sacrifices to make sure I was taken care of. I want to tell you I’m sorry I was taken from my father and even sorrier for being some weird little secret that crept back into his life 25 years later, making everyone uncomfortable with her fears and insecurities. There has always been something a little uncomfortable about me. I’m an exception people make. An obstacle to overcome. A mistake to come to terms with. A discomfort to adjust to.
I don’t want to be these things anymore. I want to be Terra and I can’t be Terra until everyone knows who Terra is. Writing this book is helping me find the people I love, and it’s helping me find myself.