Last week or maybe the week before I said I wasn’t going to blog about this because I honestly feel like it is such a divisive topic and I don’t want to alienate any of my readers. Then Chuck Wendig wrote about it and it pushed all those thoughts into the forefront of my mind again. So here goes…
First off, Chuck echoes quite a few of my feelings on the topic.
Whenever the subject of trigger warnings comes up I sort of roll my eyes and have a quiet fit. Part of it is probably training and personality. I’m not an emotional person. I don’t like talking about feelings or anything that might induce feelings so my reaction to the desire for trigger warnings is definitely one of intolerance. I know that’s wrong. I’m working on it. And as a victim of molestation I realize that this is probably a coping mechanism that I installed years ago to shut myself off from what happened to me. I’ve learned to compartmentalize things. I put things in tiny boxes and file them away in the recesses of my mind, never to be touched. I shape my life and my environment so that I won’t be reminded of the filthy contents of that box. I eliminate people in my life who remind me of the contents of that box. My trust isn’t easily gained and when you violate that trust? Good, luck to you buddy cause now you live in that box and I can’t even tell you the combination to get yourself out. Basically, I resist the idea that I am a victim by putting on this armor of badassdontfuckwithme-ness to handle every day life. And before you say it, yes, I realize this is just another form of PTSD. It does affect my relationships and my ability to form a connection with people, but I honestly feel like it’s better than walking around feeling like an exposed nerve.
Having all of that said…
I realize that not everyone one responds to trauma the way that I do.
People deal with things at their own speed and in real life, in the real world, I meet those people where they live. I’m sensitive to them. I’m empathic.
But here’s the thing….
It’s not my job to censor life for them.
The expectation that life should be censored is really strange and I don’t know how it began. This idea that the world as a whole must reorder itself to consider your traumas is unrealistic. Life happens. Triggers happen and if we start policing up all the triggers that have ever been triggered we will have book descriptions a thousand words long. Honestly, I see it as a slippery slope of political correctness and borderline censorship. I also feel like placing trigger warnings on these books my cause someone to miss out on an opportunity for healing in the form of fiction that they may have never considered before.
Yeah. I realize I’ve probably lost some of you.
My books deal with some tough subjects. Domestic violence, racism, sexism, molestation, police brutality…you’ll probably find all of these issues woven into my plots at some point. But one thing you won’t find is a trigger warning. The only thing I can promise is that I will deal with these issues as delicately and respectfully as a fallible human can. I only ask you to consider one thing: writing is art and art is meant to make you feel uncomfortable at times.