On Vulnerability and Telling the Truth

I write fiction because I feel profoundly uncomfortable with myself.  I feel like I'm combating a lot of not-truths, a lot of internalized misinformation, and so the easiest way to tell the truth has been to make things up.

Girls who turn to rabbits.

Who wake up suddenly made of sapphires.

Characters who speak only in first sentences, or who have crappy teaching gigs, or who are actual, literal monsters.

On the page, a story is never 'about me' and yet feels like the safest way to explore Why do I feel this way?  What would happen if...  Is there another ending than the one I'm afraid of?  And why am I afraid of?  It feels more honest, somehow--this is what it feels like.  It feels like I'm drowning in a pool, or teaching a classroom of bees, or at the actual end of the world.  I don't really know how to express what being a person is like without metaphoric language.  How else could it possibly make sense?

I'm reading Not That Bad, and it's humbling how invisible abuse can be - a violation, a survivability, a shattering, a voicelessness, some screaming, permanent thing.  I believe every word.  I wish I was able to write this way.  I appreciate how so many of the essays explore the limitations of what is true--if it's factual, feeling, if it's what you can remember, if it's what's been blacked out.

I'm grateful for every word I read.