I got an email yesterday morning from an editor at Newsweek's The Daily Beast asking if I wanted to write something for them about what it's like now to tell people I went to Penn State. Here was my first thought: "Are you freaking KIDDING? I am SO not getting into this."
I knew that, no matter what I wrote, there would be people attacking me, personally. That's what happens when you write about yourself. I know this. Well. And as much as I act like, "It's all part of the biz," it is hard to read. The more I write about about personal stuff, it gets slightly easier to hear that you're an "idiot" or to "Shut the fuck up." But this is a whole different ballgame, pun intended. This is kids being raped. This is a massive cover up by people I've met, people I've interviewed. This is my school, which I never really identified with, until now.
And that's what I wrote about: "I Went to Penn State, But Don't Pity Me."
Here's what some of the commenters are saying:
"I pity you as you could not get into a better school."
"This is a thoroughly idiotic and fairly insulting article."
"Get over yourself."
And, of course, that old chestnut: "Shut the fuck up."
People ask me why writing's hard. This is partly why. And this is also exactly, precisely, completely why it's important. And why, despite wishing often that I was back waiting tables where I was never told "you're NOT a victim," it's worth it to put yourself out there to say something that's true to you. As one of my friends once told me, "If people are hating on you, you must be doing something right." I hope so.