I recently wrote an essay that focuses on the real-life experiences of a friend. It's a tragic story. I didn't have any plans of writing it, but something happened that made the storytelling unavoidable.
I had my writing critique group give me feedback on it, along with the teachers I'm working with this summer. (It's a graduate class on how to become more confident as a writer so they can teach writing with more self-confidence.)
A couple of writers asked, "What did your friend say about the piece?" and I let them know I hadn't shared it with her yet.
I admit it. I was nervous. I wasn't worried she'd be angry--she's been very public about her family tragedy. She's been on the radio and she and her husband have been interviewed--all in the hopes that greater awareness results in preventing more deaths.
No, I was nervous about the emotional reaction. She's cried so much. I didn't want to make her cry even more.
Yesterday my husband and I met her for coffee. I let her read the story, and she was fierce. If I was dealing with the same loss, I don't think I would be as brave and strong as she is. In fact, I know I wouldn't.
My friend suggested a couple of additions--wonderful suggestions--so I'm going to revise the essay and then submit it.
She and I have the same goal: we want the story to get out to a wider audience, so hopefully women will understand they're not alone.
We all need a little help now and then. Why is it so hard to ask?