I’m Not Brave, I’m Human

Writing about trauma is about communion, not bravery

Nikki Kay
Messy Mind
Published in
8 min readSep 20, 2021

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Photo by Hernan Sanchez on Unsplash

Thank you for your courage to be honest.

How brave, thank you, Nikki.

You’re so brave.

Brave.

Brave.

On May 2, 2019, I published my first ever personal essay. I’d been writing full-time for a year, but most of my work was fiction, and nothing I’d written had seen the light of day.

But I was ready for something more, something deeply personal.

My entrée into the world of essay was all planned out. The outlines and drafts were ready. I’d been lurking in online writing groups. My writing calendar was set up. I’d created a publication to house my work.

Yet, still, my finger hovered over the Publish button. Did I really want to put my words out there? My innermost thoughts, my deepest secrets?

Screw it, I said to myself. What are you waiting for?

A single click was the first step to establishing a new identity for myself. I am a writer. I am a personal essayist. I am the intersection of the two: a mental health blogger.

After that, the most amazing thing happened: People started reading my work.

I know, I know. What did I expect? I put the work out there for people to read. I shouldn’t be surprised people were reading it. But every time someone highlighted my words, applauded a piece, or followed my writing, I couldn’t — still can’t — stop the flutter in my heart. See? This is what you are supposed to be doing.

Being familiar with the internet at large, I was quite nervous when the comments started coming in. I braced myself for the responses to be a cesspool of victim-blaming, misogyny, and trolling. I tensed my shoulders, squeezed my eyes closed, and clicked on the first one. I read that one tentatively, word by word, but I relaxed a little more with each subsequent entry. My eyes grew blurry as they moved over the lines of text.

Thank you for sharing your story, some of you said. I felt like I could have written this, said others. Keep writing, said almost all of you. With one or two exceptions, all the hundreds of comments I’ve received since…

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Nikki Kay
Messy Mind

Words everywhere. Fiction, poetry, personal essays about parenting, mental health, and the intersection of the two. messymind.substack.com