Some stories are harder to write than others. Fiction offers a buffer, a safe distance from reality, even when the story lines are harsh or graphic. Life is visceral. I prefer my pretty fictions.

Some stories are harder to hear than others, even though we are human in our curiosity. In our inability to look away.

I have a true story. It is my creation. Not my birth, but the components of my life that make me who I am. I have wanted to tell it for years. I wanted to scream it in the most brutal moments, when I was a child who thought she could not go on another day. But the fear that silenced me as a child still sits on my tongue. It is harsh and bitter, and I hate how hard it is to write what I know.

Each of us carries our own defining pain. I was told mine is not as great as others’. Perhaps. But it is still mine. It is the darkness in my heartbeat, hidden in the pause between, in the rush of carried blood and that fraction of time when I am neither alive nor dead. It was given to me, and I will do with it as I choose.

Words have power because they can shine light in dark places. Anyone who reads my creation becomes a witness. Some stories are easier to say than to record.

Here are some words for others who are afraid like me:






Take these words, my friends. Consider them a promise. Dash them against the walls that hold you in, cut them against the ropes that bind you, and discover how to be whole. Use them to unstack the blocks. Create yourself.

Shawna Ayoub

Shawna Ayoub is an essayist, fiction writer, poet and instructor with an MFA in creative writing from Indiana University. Some of her work has been published in The Manifest-Station, Role Reboot, [wherever], The Huffington Post, The Oxford Review and Exit 7. Her writing explores the intersections of race, place and survivorship. She writes with honesty about her own experience in order to transform pain.

0 Discussion to this post

  1. Yulia says:

    I have been wanting to tell you how much I admire you… your authenticity, your courage, your genuine way of being. I know that your sharing, writing, screaming, singing, will bring healing to so many, not to mention how much healing and freedom it will bring to that girl who couldn’t go on another day. I love you so much.

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