When I write here, I write from my own personal perspective. I write what I know, which happens to be a girl who grew up in the biggest town in Massachusetts, relatively working class, started working by the age of 10 (paper routes, babysitting), and have until this year filed a US tax return (since 1992).
I write from the perspective of a working class white girl, who has struggled with her weight all her life, struggled with depression and anxiety all her life, who has been trying to find out who she is her whole life.
I can only write about what I know. I can write about what it’s like to go to a multi-cultural private university. I can write about what it’s like to be a woman working in IT in the late 90’s where, the old boys club wasn’t something that you watched on Dallas.
I can write about the struggles of finding a religious identity, or what it was like to decide to get a Masters degree in Education, when I really should have been worrying about making sure I was bringing home a paycheck. I can write about what it’s like to fall in love and out of love and have to move back home into my childhood bedroom with all your belongings and my cat at 26.
I can write what it is like to struggle to find a job even with three degrees and what I think are decent references. I can write about my rather failed attempts at online dating or working in Early Intervention. I can write about what it was like to go to the rolling rally when the Red Sox won the World Series in 2004 and 2007. I can write about what it’s like to have supportive friends, even if I didn’t realize it at the time.
I can write about what it’s like to completely jump ship and move across the pond to undertake a second Masters. I can write about what it’s like to lose my mum. I can write about how much of a failure I felt like when I came back home after getting a second Masters and unable to find employment.
I can write about being given a second
thousandth chance to finish what I started in Glasgow, to start working on a Ph.D. I can write about all of this.
I can write about financial struggles and an obsession with all things pumpkin and what it’s like to have a breast reduction. I can write about having to fall to the depths of all lows and file for bankruptcy. I can write about personal failures and breaking and mending friendships that should have never needed a needle and thread.
I can write about the unretractable sadness I felt when my mum died and how I saddened I was to hear that my dad has cancer. I can write about loss and of love.
But I can only write about them from a point of view of me. I’m not all that interesting or exotic, nor do I know what it is like to live life as a person of colour or a different religion, or a lot of religion, or how it feels to be trapped in a body that isn’t mine.
I can only write about me and what I know. All journey’s come with baggage and your own personal bias. I have no idea what life is like for someone who grew up in Glasgow or London or Paris or Moscow. I can tell you what life was like in the 80’s in Framingham, Massachusetts, USA as a daughter to a father who worked his ass of every single day (and who even tried to go to work the day after the blizzard of ’78!) I can tell you about hard work and perserverence and sadness and longing and wishing I had been born under a different sign.
And that’s all I can tell you, from my perspective. It’s my story and my life and what I know. That is what writers do. I can’t do it from someone else’s perspective because I do not know what it’s like to be them, nor would I do it justice. That doesn’t mean I deny the existence of issues that I cannot relate to. I just have no experience in that particular experience. I tell the stories that I know.
If you have a story, tell it. Don’t wait for someone else to tell it for you.