Introduction: Why Bother?
I have sometimes been asked, “Why do you write this stuff? Why expose yourself like that?” in comments about some of my more personal essays.
A big reason is that it is therapeutic. A friend once commented on an essay, “A burden shared is a burden lightened.” I’m not trying to share a burden as much as to exorcise some demons through writing about them. If I write this stuff down and put it out there, it’s no longer running around in my head making me crazy. Confession can be a powerful tool for healing.
The Wise Woman (my wife) tells me that owning too much, taking too much responsibility for things I can’t control, is itself a form of arrogance and narcissism. She’s right, but hyper-responsibility is a character trait of all surgeons. We must find ways to live with it. Writing about it helps me with that.
Finally, I write about this stuff to give others a glimpse of a world they will never see except on one of the worst days of their lives. It’s a world that my colleagues and I inhabit every working day. I work with some of the most dedicated and intelligent people that I have ever known. Most of them could excel at any trade or profession they choose. They choose to work trauma. It is an honor to be associated with them.