What if Your True Story Exposes Someone Else’s Dirty Laundry?
This question has been floating around the blogsphere for a little while now. How do I write true, write honest, write raw, when telling my story also tells parts of another persons?
There are two things that soften the harshness of truth.
In the kids movie, The Incredibles, a superhero-in-hiding watches a disaster happening outside his window. He pauses for just a second before rushing to get his superhero outfit to go save the world. The wall turns to show a hidden room and an empty manikin. He yells to his wife, “Where is my super-suit?! WHERE IS my SUPER-SUIT?”
Her voice comes from the kitchen, “WHY do you need to KNOW?”
She thought he was in hiding but he knew that there were parts of the coming disaster he could prevent. The time had come.
Timing is a magic word.
And knowing when your words can avert disaster is something to prayerfully consider.
I have a friend who was victim to an emotionally abusive relationship. For years she has kept silent, not wanting to point her fingers at this man, acknowledging that she also played a part in the wrongness of their relationship. But the time has come.
She is preparing to speak, to humbly acknowledge her part, and to hopefully help other women stay out of or get out of relationships that will harm them.
It will not be written to defame this man but to avert the sorrow for others and that is key.
Some situations may call for tactful things like leaving out names or writing anonymously. Prayerfully consider these options
Do not write words and toss them into the permanency of the internet before you have seen God in the situation. Don’t write from the middle of the mess when that’s all you can see. You don’t want to be guilty of glorifying the mess, as Christin puts it.
The redemption may come in two hours, in two days or in twenty years. Wait for it.
If you are struggling with your husband, keep your mouth shut until you can write about more than the struggles. I’m not saying you can’t seek counsel or ask for prayer but those things should be done in real-life not on the internet.
This does not mean that you have to wait for the situation to change. It means that you must wait to see God in the middle of it and then tell the story with grace.
Which brings us to the final question—
How do I write my story with grace (and without pointing fingers)?
This is the one and only time in life that I will probably say this but it has to be all about you.
You cannot know another’s inner thoughts/feelings or know what inspired certain actions. You only know you. That is where your focus should return to.
I recently shared a story that involved another person and by the end it came out that it wasn’t actually about the other lady at all. It was all about what God was teaching me.
When we take the outward things and turn them inward, our fingers stop pointing.
Another trick is to trim the incident down. Leave out details that would identify someone and simply tell the feelings/thoughts that you had. I don’t need to know that your mother-in-law said something cruel to you. Suffice it to say that cruel words were spoken. Now, how did you deal with them?
A beautiful example:
This woman is in the process of telling her story. It’s anonymous. It’s real. Because it is long, she has taken time to point out that redemption is coming. It is true beauty.
Do you find it hard to tell your story without hurting others? What have you learned in the process?