Deborah Cruz, better known as @TruthfulMommy, authors the often hilarious, sometimes make you cry, always brutally honest parenting site The TRUTH about Motherhood. She is the wife to her best friend, a writer, and semi-crunchy, work-at-home Ninja Mommy. She lives in the Midwest with her two gorgeous girls and her husband, fondly known as the Big Guy. She has a lot of degrees from a bunch of schools but spends her days shuttling people under the age of seven for little to no pay while trying to maintain her sanity and meet her deadlines. She talks a lot and can often be found on Facebookand Twitter typing without a filter.
When I was in second grade, I wrote my first book for young authors. It was about a woman scientist who, in order to cure cancer, created the technology to shrink herself small enough to be injected into the human body to examine the blood cells of a sick friend up close. She had many adventures inside the human body. She cured cancer and saved the world. I remember the entire book was cut in the shape of a woman’s head and shoulders. The cover was decorated with blond hair, blue eyes and a pink shirt. It was cheesy but I was seven and did it all by myself; it was creative. I have written since I learned to write. I evolved from a voracious reader into a prolific writer.
Writing was the one place I could make my voice heard. I was a small child, with a loud, overbearing, abusive father and a mother who didn’t do enough to protect me. I realize now that she did the best she could and was a slave to his disease of alcoholism. I felt helpless a lot of the time. Writing was my safe place. I wrote out every single thought in my head, without reproach or judgment. Writing saved my life. Without it, all the feelings of helplessness, anger, vulnerability, sadness and confusion would’ve eaten me alive. When I was silenced, my writing could scream volumes. My words could tell the truth that my voice was too afraid to whisper.
Writing allowed a duplicity that helped me appear, on all accounts, “normal.” I compartmentalized my life. All the pain and embarrassment I felt from my home life, from being poor, from being abused could be left on paper and I could carry on as the happy-go-lucky, popular, good girl everyone loved but no one ever really knew. I felt like a fraud, like at any moment the true me would be exposed. I hid beneath the ideal of me. I tried to be everything everyone expected and wanted. I held my breath and strived for perfection, secretly hoping someone would notice and save me. No one did.
Writing was and is as crucial to my survival as breathing. Every thought I have may not be earth shattering, but it may be just the thing that is so relatable that it saves someone else who’s suffering. My words are a life preserver. Someday they may comfort my children when my voice no longer can.
My writing began with the book I wrote when I was seven but as I moved into the melancholy teen years of trying to find myself among the rubble from childhood, it turned into painful poetry of unrequited love or lost innocence. In those years, the words poured out of me like thunderous sobs. My words were ugly crying in silence. I couldn’t write them fast enough but even though the words were honest, now they appear superficial to me; like the words of someone who hasn’t lived long enough to write with authenticity.
Writing, for me, is about more than words on paper and never about writing just what others want to hear. Anyone who has ever read my blog can attest to that. Sometimes my truth is so brutally honest that I offend myself. I cringe and hit publish anyway. I won’t be silent any longer.
I am older and, I’d like to think, wiser now. Things are not epic. There is a steady ebb and flow to my life. I’ve lived so much more at 39 then I had at 21. I write from my heart and through my pain. I don’t push it aside or hide it anymore. Words written in raw pain are authentic. The honesty with which writing allows me to relate to others is something that I embrace. Words have released me from the shackles of expectation and allowed me to become the person I was always meant to be: myself uncensored.