Have you?

Have you ever written a poem that was just… WAY too personal for anyone else to read? That feeling you know once you let it out there, you’re embarrassed in a way because it’s the truth or that it’s something you just thought was considered oversharing?

I’m asking since I find it interesting to hear from others and their experiences. I went through this late last year in August (that feels so weird to say since it’s not even a week into 2022, but whatever) and I had to pull a poem from a magazine because I felt different feelings about it (the poem); feelings of embarrassment of what I described in the poem and my own experiences; feelings that I overshared too personally on something I perhaps wasn’t ready to share; feelings of anyone I know finding that poem. Silly, yes, as those stakes are relatively low and frankly if someone I knew did find my site or work, I say to you: “Welcome on board to a sinking ship. What’s your method of jumping?”

But, also, I dealt with feelings that I just wasn’t ready to share from that poem or have it read by anyone other than myself and maybe someone that I really trust. It’s clear that I’m likely not alone in that sentiment. Sometimes, there are things we just know on the inside that aren’t meant to be seen. Maybe not now. Maybe not ever. And that’s okay. Somethings are meant to be kept to ourselves, and when we decide to share them, it’s because we’re in an environment that’s allowing us to be vulnerable and that we can open ourselves up to that person.

What was your experience? You can keep it as vague (I mean, I did) or as detailed as you’d like.

19 Comments

  1. Personal poetry is, or can be, perfect! Being brave enough to show vulnerability is a wonderful way to connect deeply with an audience, whether listeners or readers of your work!

    I have written of being sexually abused as a child, then as a teen, and about my personal sex life, as well as being incontinent. Piss, shit, semen, and tears, there’s nothing that has happened that I as a writer about such things, is afraid to speak of!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree with that so much, Carolyn. I think it’s very strong to share and it can be a relief knowing how it can connect to others, and that there’s an audience that can resonate with your work. I also like what you say at the end there about how there’s nothing on the table you’re afraid to speak of; I really, really like that and it’s making me see the different perspectives writers have, and one thing that seems to be common through it all, though, is a certain openness or openness to experience (through writing and feedback).

      I admire your view on this, and I am so sorry for what you went through. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. My life has been a mixture a good and bad, but most of the time, it I stick it out, the rewards of the better times have come along … I am an optimist by nature, and feel my natural response is backed up by what happens.

        Bad things for sure, but with good support from family, friends, and medical people, my life is good.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Ooh, I love that comparison. ❤ I think it’s a brilliant one that encapsulates so much of the relief we get when we put our heart, our vulnerabilities, our mistakes on the page. I wrote this piece and it felt draining, yet it freed me of the burden it was in my head in a way.

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  2. This is a great topic. I have published things where I hope strangers read it but not people I know. I think that in my experience I have lived with the poem long enough to be able to let it go or edit it so as to make it more universal. Even if you can’t publish it, that poem still should be written, shouldn’t it?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thomas, I love what you said there. Definitely agree; I think a poem should always be written–if we didn’t write for ourselves at times, I think it wouldn’t make writing nearly as enjoyable or as a relief it has been. I also like the thoughts on editing it to be more universal. I find myself and other writers hiding behind figurative imagery to convey enough of what happened, but also to keep what’s personal still inside.

      The more I’m reading everyone’s thoughts, the more I realize that there’s beauty and strength in honesty and vulnerability; while also deciding, as you say, whether to let this poem go or edit it so that it’s not as personal but more accessible in a way that keeps these feelings safe.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I believe it might be an age thing. When you are young with delusions of self importance you tend to be shy or embarrassed by your truth.
    After, nearer to the end; you think fu#k it let it go.
    I am currently in a let it go phase. I know there are people I know who are reading it and…

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  4. My life has always been weird. When I was young I told a good friend I wanted to start writing it down and he told me not to. He said that path is for my feet alone and no one else would understand the lessons I have to learn from it. But I still see in in my paintings. Others might see it too but not have the specific info. I’m not showing my paintings except on WordPress, which is a supportive community. It’s really not easy to draw that line between telling too much and sharing

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  5. It took me years to share my personal thoughts about my life of being a full-time carer for wife, that was a task I did for 30 years … … eventually the poems emerged from my desk drawer.. and now 12 years later, here I am, sharing my poems and stories around the world ..

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  6. I’ve never really had that experience. I write a lot. I usually let others read my writing. I write to raise awareness so letting others read what I write is important to me. XX

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  7. I think quite a few of my writings are personal; I get around it by using third person narrative but sometimes I do it in first person as well.

    The good thing is my blog is quite secluded and I have few visitors (based on likes hahah) so it is the perfect place for me to pour out memories I’d like to immortalise in words. I’d have a tingly feeling of glee knowing I put something out there that means a lot to me, which is heightened by the ripe old age of not being too bothered by how many people read it or react to it. If someone chances upon it, or even likes it, well that’s affinity. 🙂

    That being said, even if you are publishing in a medium that is out there catching eyeballs, I believe it is still quite safe. So, go ahead with it!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I have published poems with personal content, and then had second thoughts about them. However, I overcame my embarrassment and let them be. Having said that Lucy, I must admit that I’m still not ready to write about certain dark and disturbing things that took place in my childhood.

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  9. I can’t or won’t put out too much of myself when what I sometimes see in myself makes me cringe inside. So I deflect and distort till it becomes barely recognisable and frankly laughable. Healthy? Who knows? It works for me.

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  10. I think only you can judge. The novel I’m working on had a chapter which, in hindsight, was way to confronting and I had to alter it. I kind of regret that, but it was something which would have freaked the reader out

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  11. Yes. A number of poems I’ve written years before seemed too personal to share. There are some that I do share and it feels great to let it out. I’m still not keen on some, just yet.

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