The first few years following my father's death were some of the most awkward, uncomfortable times of my life. It seemed social cues regarding an unorthodox, unnatural death to one's immediate family, fly over the heads of those blessed with the "complete" family (the father-mother-child relationship). I spent far too many conversations near tears answering "what do your parents do" with "my MOM does x, y, and z", only to be followed up with "oh cool, what does your dad do?"
Regardless of how well I came to terms with losing my father, every conversation that followed in those footsteps always brought the tears back. However, the emotion was rooted in the freshness of the blow; my dad's death was an understandably sore subject for me for a long time. In terms of self-disclosure, I am an open book, and I always have been. As a child, I was very transparent about dealing with a parent with addiction. In my eyes, regardless of the unfortunate, inevitable cruelty from ignorant children, as well as the dismay my mother had for speaking of something so private and unpleasant, I never saw my life as something to be ashamed of or hidden. In my eyes, my story was a story, it was who I was and how I came to be. I have taken this aspect of my personality and integrated it into my various life experiences.
Being a writer requires a lot of creativity, as well as dedication to authenticity. To take the seeds of your life and to plant them in something so beautiful, whether nonfiction or fiction, is beautiful. In the digital world that we live in, the intersectionality of transparent, fast disclosers and social media personas is inevitable. Whether we like it or not, social media is altering the way we do practically everything. In a fit of rage from an ex-friend, someone I regarded as a friend for life, ridiculed me for speaking of my eating disorder on social media, claiming I was only doing it for attention. I sat in my hospital bed and realized how ignorant people like her are. First and foremost, though I have nothing to prove to this individual, I feel everyone should know: I kept my disordered eating and thoughts private for 7 years, and kept my eating disorder a secret for 6 months. I wanted to talk to someone that knew what it was like, because the logical side of my brain could not fathom what was happening to me. Just like my days back at private school when I found myself coping with the lack of a father, I never had someone to relate to.
Since taking to The Odyssey, Medium, and social media platforms such as Twitter and Instagram, I have dedicated a portion of my time and my voice to be the person I wish I had when I was suffering. I sacrifice my autonomy and privacy because I never want someone to feel isolated and hopeless just as I did for so long. Being transparent on social media is not attention-seeking, it is not shameful, it is noble—but it is important to provide trigger warnings and self monitor the details disclosed. I challenge those that abrasively oppose honest Twitter and Facebook inhabitants to change their perspective. While not everyone is willing to be an open book, respect the decision individuals, like myself, make. Because sometimes the words are to help others, and others, it's to preface my life struggles to avoid uncomfortable conversation—that's okay, and I don't have to ask in the first place if it is okay.