It’s a stressful thing to read something you can’t take back, something that makes you panic, a thing that reveals the conflict you’ve worked so hard to tame, snapshots into the past.
I posted an article here a while ago about chronic pain. Besides being mediocre writing – and outright bad in places – the article was edited by Elephant Journal and certain words were highlighted and emphasized. The title of my post was changed to include the word “suicide”, which wasn’t the point of my article of all. My original intention was to somehow highlight how the experience of excruciating pain, along with the stigma of chronic pain, isolates and silences a person leading to a multitude of difficult questions.
Elephant Journal does not allow an author to delete a post once published. They are upfront about this if you take the time to read what you’re signing up for. But if I had a choice, I would delete that post because I’m now experiencing a life without that level of pain and I would love to erase all evidence that I was so sick.
And I find this somewhat heartbreaking.
I have internalized the stigma I intended to call out. The human drive for forgetting, resilience, cultural adaptation, and acceptance is more powerful than I’d like to admit. It’s everywhere.
Of course these things are incredibly complicated, dynamic, and wrought with cultural and familial pressures. In some ways I’m glad Elephant Journal won’t allow me to erase what I wanted to say, even if they tweaked it and even if I wish I could rewrite it to now say it “better”.
I would have called myself a strong believer in vulnerability and transparency, but clearly, that has been put to the test. I have a lot to learn, and I’m actually quite in love with mess of it all.