Why I Wrote and Self-Published a Memoir

Am I a narcissist who thinks my own story is as interesting to others as it is to me? Was it an attempt at passive aggression toward those I felt wronged me in some way? Did I think I could leverage a highly popular subject to make money? Would someone love me more if they knew what I was feeling on the inside? Could I make someone feel bad by revealing what I really thought? And would that make me feel better?

These are all motivations I questioned of myself as I compiled my most personal thoughts and feelings into a book that I would share with my small world of friends, family and social connections.

Maybe I did it for all of those reasons and maybe for none of those reasons. My memoir shares me at my worst me. I am not proud of most of my thoughts, feelings and actions during that time. Death brings out the worst in people, and I was not immune to that, practically perfect though I may seem from the outside. #sarcasticfont

The month of time covered in my memoir fundamentally changed me as a person. I needed to go through the grief, the anger, the laughter, the mistakes, the embarrassment and the conversations to become the better person I believe I am today. Publishing (and even more-so, self-publishing) a book about myself is indulgent; but transcribing my days, nights and innermost thoughts was a therapeutic process that I needed to experience.

As I re-read my journal-like writings to my brother in the month after his death, I re-lived those excruciating days. I was in awe of my dad, my friends, my family, new friends and families that I met that month: the support, the love and the understanding that they gave me and my dad. I published this collection of stories to let them know that I recognized and appreciated them more than I was able to express at the time. I shared this to punish myself for being selfish even as I thought I was acting unselfishly. I made my words permanent as a reminder that I survived, that I am lucky to have a strong support system and that everyday should be appreciated on its own.

I stand by my words as real to me during that painful month: what I felt then and there. I reflect on my words as I continue to grow from that experience and hope perhaps they can help others know they are not alone when they find themselves dizzy and disoriented from a life-changing event.

Read my inner-dialogue published as my memoir by buying the book, Stay Safe: A memoir of life after loss from the sister of a fallen Navy SEAL.