Please Don’t Read This

Adrienne Mitchel, author of the column.

I hate writing about myself.

That’s why I chose to go into journalism — I’d write other people’s stories, not my own.

I have no problem telling people my stories, but writing them is completely different. Because I can’t just leave the conversation when I want. With writing, you have to explain why you did what you did. And vulnerability terrifies me.

I’ll tell my friends, “Yeah, I went undercover and stalked my dad,” “Yeah, I used men to get 20 free meals in one month,” “Yeah, I turned down my friend’s offer to be his girlfriend.” 

And my friends reply in shock and awe: “You’re funny,” “You’re so confident,” “You’re so iconic.”

And that’s the point of my stories. It’s the only way I’ve learned to connect with people.

But there’s always a story behind those stories.

I didn’t just stalk my dad because I thought it was funny. I did it because it’s a better story to tell than recounting angry shouts barely muffled across the house, police knocking on the front door, and tears streaming down my mother’s face. 

I didn’t go on 20 dates in one month because I was confident. I did it because I have something to prove after seven years of stepping on scales, dumping full plates, and hating the reflection crying in the mirror. It’s a better story than admitting my eating disorder will never stop haunting me every day of my life. 

I didn’t turn down what would have been my first relationship because I’m iconic. I did it because it’s a better story than admitting that I don’t think I deserve love.

All my stories are true. But they’re half-truths. And I prefer to keep them that way. 

Because if I keep telling them halfway, eventually I’ll forget they have more to them. 

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Adrienne Mitchel is a broadcast journalism and documentary student from the San Francisco Bay Area with a passion for storytelling. In her free time, she loves trying new food and playing the piano.