I Want To Be Obscene

It feels obscene to wear sleeveless shirts in public. It was so cold for so long that my body adopted an almost nun-like sensibility – sweaters, layers, expose no skin.

But expose it I am, in all it’s pasty white glory. It just feels a little funny at first.

I catch up, as I do on Sundays, on the writings of some of my favorite columnists and bloggers from the past week. One particular story is now lodged in my head and I’ve taken it with me to the bath, the dishes, the laundry and probably grocery shopping. It was a story on Common Threads about a woman with bulimia whose mother finds out and tells her daughter she “knows what it’s like to feel alone.” When she was 10, her mother was repeatedly raped by the family’s gardener.

The story is powerful and haunting and sad and written in such a way that I can’t get the imagery out of my head. You can read it by clicking here.

I spend a lot of time thinking. I think about things I should or want to write about, and yet often, when I get the chance to sit in front of the computer, the thoughts in my head come out flat and lacking. The words on the screen don’t have the same energy or vitality as the words floating around in my brain.

To write honestly is like feeling obscene in a sleeveless shirt after a long winter. I guess that’s true with anything we do that takes us out on a limb or asks us to share parts of ourselves that the rest of the world might scoff at.

I admire writers like the bulimic woman who find within themselves the strength to write from the inside out. I know a lot of writers (Ann Coulter, Sean Hannity and several New York Times op-ed columnists et al come to mind) who usually write from the outside. Lots of layers, sweaters, expose no skin.

I like when people expose the pasty white skin part of their lives in a tight, well-written form. I want to be obscene like that.

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