Personal Essay #6: Aubri Stogsdill

Telling the Truth


With wide eyes and partially crossed legs I sat uncomfortably on the short cement wall. I'd nearly wrung my clammy hands raw as I debated about what I would say.  In order to insure that no one saw me before I wanted them to, my back was strategically turned to the sliding glass doors through which passengers exited the secure section of the airport. Every thirty seconds or so I'd glance over my shoulder, frantically search the faces of the passengers on the escalator, and turn back again hoping no one had noticed just how frequently I was checking if he had arrived.

After a brutal twenty minutes I started to relax a bit and converse with my family. When I wasn't looking, the sliding doors opened and Will and strutted through them with an intimidating, but somewhat sleepy sort of confidence. I jumped up from my cement seat and rushed behind my mother, who I preceded to use as a human shield until I could breathe again. Will was a twenty-three year old Kiwi that had recently graduated college with a degree in accounting. He had a dark and mysterious look to him that resembled that of a dreamy english professor; someone who had lots of profound things to say, but only spent words on those he felt were truly worthy enough to hear them.

Insecurity hit me over the head with a bat. Ever since I was a child I'd felt uncomfortable speaking to people who didn't yet understand my lack of verbal grace. I'd preface friendships with, “I promise, once you get to know me, you'll like me!' as if who I was at first glance was not something worth appreciating. Based on the look of him, I felt that I was going to have to convince Will that I was a creature worth loving, which was a disheartening thought.

 By some cruel stroke of fate and to my utter horror, Will and his brother ended up in the back seat of my car on the drive home from the airport. I cherry-picked my words, trying desperately to impress Will without seeming too obvious and praying that I didn't wreck my car considering the fact that I still felt as jumpy as a half-starved street cat. As we pulled into my driveway it was suddenly evident just how uninterested Will was in having anything to do with eighteen year old me, which came as a massive relief and caused a bit of the tenseness in my shoulders to loosen.  

It was mid-February, and the sky in Fairbanks was beautifully blue, as it tends to be around that time of year. We had more and more light every day, which brought me a new sense of excitement as I was still emotionally charged thinking of all my New Years resolutions and just how wonderful I believed that 2017 was going to be. At first, Will didn't even seem to notice that I existed, but slowly his real intentions became evident. I'd look towards him and realize that he was already looking at me. Our eyes would locked and in an instant my stomach would fill with seasick butterflies. With a strange sort of abandon and excitement, and before I knew his favorite color, we became a package deal.

Heart break isn't something you plan. No one plunges into a relationship hoping it'll go up in flames. I remember when I was fifteen I watched an elderly couple that I loved dearly tear each other apart. Every day was another battle. Every day for thirty-five years they'd struggled to love each other, and every day they seemed to fail.  Their lives were lived with one hand wrapped around each other's throat and the other holding tightly to their marriage license. The sharp words and loud arguments made me wonder if I would ever marry at all. If this was what loved looked like I was not interested.  Not to say that anyone was bold enough to admit that they fancied me when I was fifteen, or at any point for that matter. It seemed that I was invisible to the male species for most of my teen years.  I didn't have the problems my friends had, but it was okay.

A few months prior, a wise friend of mine had said that Will could be the most incredible, ripe, and beautiful type of peach in the world, and I could decide that I didn't like peaches. This, she assured me, would not be a tragedy, rather a moment of discovery.  Of course, I brushed her comment away as I would a humming mosquito. I like peaches, I thought to myself.    

No one ever told me that loving is hard. Even if you aren't dating a douche. It hurts and it challenges you. Love asks you to tell the truth when you really don't want to. The first time William said he loved me we were sitting in an Italian restaurant which was actually just a pizza joint that had a few crappy pasta dishes. My hair was elegantly twisted back and I wore a flowing white and floral dress. Both Will and I were over dressed, which made me feel somewhat restless as we sat in the loud greasy restaurant. Having noticed our fancy attire, the server  perceived that this was no ordinary  date, so as we sat he frantically grabbed several random candles from around the restaurant and put them in the center of our table.  I could feel heat creeping over my cheeks, heartlessly giving away my secret just as my elder sister had routinely done when I was nine years old. Before I'd even had a moment to think, the words jumped out of my mouth; I told William I loved him too, and immediately I lost my appetite. For the next two months I tried to figure out if what I had said was the truth. But Will meant it. In that dimly lit pizza joint, it was true for him. He loved me.

Over and over he'd say it. Even when my hair was a mess, my face was makeup free, and I was painfully grouchy, He'd remind me that he believed me to be the most beautiful woman in the world. One night he pulled me up from the couch and he twirled me around. William, bless his heart, didn't have a single coordinated bone in his body, but he knew how much I enjoyed dancing, so he'd dance. After a few minutes of clumsily spinning around in silence, He stopped, held me for a moment, and said those three fateful words for the hundredth time. I love you.

I should have been over the moon with joy. Here was a man who thought I was a treasure. No gift or restaurant was too expensive. No request too small or insignificant. He worshiped the ground I walked on. Maybe, this is just what love feels like, I'd tell myself.  After all, what did I know about love? All my life I'd been invisible but now, Will saw me. It was just a phase, it would pass, and soon I would love him in the same way that he loved me. Lenard Cohen said that love was not a victory march, its a cold a broken hallelujah. So I trudged on as William tried to decide if he wanted to have our wedding in the summer or the spring.

His actions confused me, and I'd never noticed just how heavy his brow was or how sharp his words could be. Though we seemed to know everything there was to know about each other, somehow we had missed the most important things. My shyness irritated him, his directness hurt me, but the flowers, expensive desserts, and the way my heart sped up every time he'd grab my hand made the other stuff feel a little less important just long enough for those three words to escape my mouth again. Even with all the affection, gifts, and sweet words I couldn't imagine waking up to Will every morning. With every special little moment it seemed as though part of me grew more and more dim. My internal wild flower was wilting.

I was trapped in winter, waiting for a spring that never came. My toes were cold, and my body weary.    Finally, I was ready to admit the truth to Will and to myself in spite of the pain and humiliation it would cause. As I explained just how unsure I was about my feelings all the moments I'd said I loved him came rushing through my mind. His eyes filled with tears. With every word the knife went deeper into his heart and I felt more like a fraud. My body shook as I spoke. Love without the promise of forever is nothing but heart break, but if it doesn't want to be together forever, was it really love at all?

In one fowl swoop, I broke his heart and somehow I broke mine too. As I hung up the phone, my face began to heat up and an anger I can't explain bubbled within me. I wanted to be angry. It felt better than the pain. For a brief moment I was convinced that I hated Will, and the next moment my tears broke through my eyes like Hulk busting through a wall.  William's tear-filled words ran through my mind again, “Oh baby... I just... I need to know that you... love me too...'  But I didn't and I couldn't and I hated myself for it.

For the following weeks I  mourned the loss of a life that I never really wanted.  I put 'us' in the ground. I said goodbye to who I thought we would become together.  At the same time, I felt a deep sense of relief, like I'd finally done what I needed to do all along. Yet, the dull ache deep within me persisted. The pain was so real that it took every bit of my mental and emotional  energy. I was a walking shell. For months I hardly spoke to anyone outside of my family.

While I knew breaking it off was the right thing to do, I also felt that I had blood on my hands. That I'd butchered someone whose only crime was loving me.  Simultaneously, it seemed like every friend I've ever had was getting engaged, which didn't help my situation whatsoever. As I watched my first relationship burn to the ground, many ladies that I loved dearly were silly with excitement as they posted photos of their beautiful engagement rings. I couldn't even look at social media without smoke coming out of my ears. One of the hardest things in the world is watching someone who has something that you've just lost, without allowing bitterness to grow deep within you.

The night of the breakup, as I sobbed on my Dad's shoulder, I was reminded of my older sister's first serious break up. She'd spent what felt like days screaming, crying, and begging us to explain to her how this could have happened. Shocked thirteen year old me pleaded with my dad to never let that happen to me. He looked at me and lovingly said that as long as I trusted him, I wouldn't have to go through something so painful. That night, in lou of my first breakup I asked my dad why he let this happen when he'd promised to protect me. My sympathetic dad had nothing to say in response to this question, so he just sat there and held me.

I was angry at God, angry at my dad, and everyone else who'd let me do this. I was angry with myself for hurting Will after he'd been so vulnerable with me. Yet, moments after I asked my dad that childish question, I asked the same question of the Lord. His response was simple and sweet. God told me that trusting Him doesn't mean that I wouldn't experience storms, it meant that even after my heart had been chewed up and spit out, He would be there to comfort me, rock me, and tell me everything was okay. Just as my father was doing right in that moment.

I'm not going to lie and say that its all sunshine and roses without him. Every once in while I'll see a man with an intense brow, deep dark brown eyes, and a jaw line that so reminds me of Will that I freeze and all the memories come rushing back. Days with encounters like these often end with many tears and a conscious fight with the  longing to have Will again.  I've spent more time than I'd like to admit wondering how he's doing now, and if he's forgiven me. Wondering if he's moved on, or if my absence still haunts him.

While I'm ashamed of the way that I carried myself through this relationship, I know that I am not who I was that first day in the airport. I'm more convinced of my own selfishness and imperfections now than I've ever been, and at the same time, I love the woman that I've become. Somedays I doubt that I'll be able to find someone who can love me the way that Will loved me. Yet, somehow through it all I am stronger. And somehow, even in the pain, confusion, and  mixed emotions, I'm okay.


12 thoughts on “Personal Essay #6: Aubri Stogsdill

  1. Andrew Lange


    I very much enjoyed reading your piece. Relationships can be incredibly difficult and awkward, especially for any other family members. Both my parents went on and had other affairs when I was a teenager, and I found this incredibly awkward to say the least. Often, when relationships like you described reach their breaking point, there can be a massive internal clash between discourses; i.e. “He loves me” versus “I can’t imagine waking up to him every morning for the rest of my life”.

    Such was the case with both of my parents’ other affairs when I was a teenager. My mother’s situation was particularly awkward and distasteful for me. Originally, her previous husband, from before my dad, who she loved very much, left her in 1994. Did I mention he did this, so he could run off with another man? Later, my mother met my dad, had me, but they didn’t marry yet nevertheless became estranged; they had their reasons for this. Later, after her and my dad had more or less long since split, he came crawling back. He visited a few times when I was fairly young, and I do believe he actually did have vested interest in me; he cared about both myself and my mother. That said, having run off with another man still means I have some bones to pick with him as a person.

    I had moved in with my dad by this point (mom was having some other issues). During the summer of 2011, I was back on visitation rights, and David (that was his name) was living there again for the most part. I found this incredibly awkward and as a 13-year-old I did make mention of this to my mother. By 2013, they were reengaged and were going to remarry. I found this cringe worthy as despite how nice he was to me I had no interest in him whatsoever. When my mother passed away later that year, I had to fight with David through much of the first half of 2014 over various aspects of her estate; guess what? He wanted money from it.

    My dad’s next affair was also an odd one for me. He was hooked up with the office manager at the place we were working for at the time for a while in 2014. She genuinely loved me, and her also-sixteen-year-old-at-the-time-with-no-dad son and I also got along; my dad also genuinely loved her son. That said, it was still incredibly awkward for me; the relationship progressed very quickly to boot. Her son (Mark) was very much in favor of how it was going; I remember him commenting to me “They should just get married, ring, ring, done, nothing huge”.

    That relationship dissolved peacefully, and they still talk occasionally as friends. I run into Mark around Sitka, Alaska (where they were living) occasionally in places like the AC Value Center, and it’s always a positive encounter. Nevertheless, relationships are a funny thing; they are awkward!

    I enjoyed your writing for the most part. The only thing I would suggest changing would be giving a more detailed introduction; it took me awhile to figure out what was going on; ‘OK, there’s this person waiting for someone at the airport, but why?’ That said, I know you might also be trying to build suspense and make the reader feel the anticipation/dread you were feeling at the time; if that’s the case don’t feel obligated to make this change.

  2. Monica Gallagher

    This was a good narration of your relationship with Will. With how much detail as put into the actual guts of the relationship, I was still left with questions. I guess that’s often how all relationships are, but I guess more specific details of Wills arrival, who he was at that time and what exactly was the reason for the end of the relationship? I guess it was an unbalanced amount of love or him not being the right one. The only reason I mention these things is because it seems out of place for the amount of detail that was put in to the rest of the story. It felt like there was build up missing as well or a climax. This had a perfect option for that with the break up, yet it didn’t even feel like an event. I would suggest maybe more dialogue with the break up or even more detail in what you were feeling in relation to the build up to add a significant climactic event.
    I think it was ultimately a tale of courage, “Telling the Truth”, the courage to speak your truth, even if that means breaking someone else’s heart. That takes guts. I applaud you for that and I applaud you for writing about it and sharing your story. Especially, with it being so recent. Sometimes though, as we’ve learned from Lamott, writing can be a therapeutic experience that does stuff for us sometimes that we don’t even know we needed.
    I don’t want to pry too much, and I know the ways of the heart are very confusing, but the thoughts at the end make me wonder if you still have feelings for him. I realize to a certain extent that we all still have some sort of feelings for our past loves and that could be all it is. Reading these types of stories though always makes me want there to be a happy ending. I just thought it would be really awesome if you were to have written this piece then talked to Will and got back together with him and wrote another piece about your experience. I’m a romantic at heart and would love that. Would be a great story.
    It’s hard to read these stories and offer critique without trying to add to them in a fiction writing way. I wish that we could do that with our lives. Something happens or doesn’t happen, and we can fluff it a bit with a little fiction writing to help us create what we want to happen. That would be great.
    I think that you described a break up really well as far as the emotions and anger. The interactions with your family in letting you do that, is very real and relatable. The seamless and subtle reference to God in talking about your anger was nice to hear, not every writer adds that in. I like how you input Wills description again at the end of the story, it really tied everything together.

  3. Naimy Schommer


    Not even trying to hide it here I cried the first, second, and third time I read this. You speak with such truth. This piece is so real. That’s really the gist of everything I have to say. I can hear your heart in this and I see the bruises it’s healing.

    The elderly couple you use as an example of the “love” you knew as a child is a great example of how everything can go wrong. I think its supportive of your point and illustrates what you were wary of when you entered your relationship with Will. The same goes for the “I like peaches” bit. We can attempt to convince ourselves of many things just to avoid heartbreak and I think that analogy shared with you by your friend in seriously wonderful.

    The paragraph that begins with “I should have been over the moon with joy.” is ROUGH. OOF. Girl I feel that. That might be my favorite bit of the whole piece. You so beautifully illustrate how the world moves on without your approval of it doing so. This part illustrates how important it is to speak up and make yourself authentically known because otherwise, you get swept along with the people who do. It’s heartbreaking but it’s true and this paragraph, in my opinion, sums up your whole narrative’s point.

    The parts you added with your dad serve to show how this breakup impacted your family, and shows how important they are to you. I LOVE how you use him as a reflection of what Jesus is doing for you. UGH AUBRI YOU SLAY ME! I know that this mature, accepting response is only the product of time and prayer, but you execute its introduction in this piece so artfully that it seems natural and logical.

    Again. It’s beautiful. I have no notes because how could I improve your literal heart.


  4. Aundrea Pierce


    I enjoyed your story and appreciated you sharing some deep emotions with the reader. You write with a nice flow and a structure that’s easy to follow. You provided an excellent, captivating intro! I felt your anxiousness. I thought it was genius how you hook the reader in with your fabulous initial impression of this ‘one of a kind guy,’ and then you started doubting your relationship so I was eager to discover “what will she decide and why!?”

    “Our eyes would locked and in an instant my stomach would fill with seasick butterflies.” I loved how you mentioned the seasick butterflies; I never heard that description before!

    “With a strange sort of abandon and excitement, and before I knew his favorite color, we became a package deal” I got a little confused here, was the word supposed to be abandonment?

    “Their lives were lived with one hand wrapped around each other’s throat and the other holding tightly to their marriage license.” You did a great job describing the intense relationship of the old couple.

    “I was angry at God, angry at my dad, and everyone else who’d let me do this. I was angry with myself for hurting Will after he’d been so vulnerable with me. Yet, moments after I asked my dad that childish question, I asked the same question of the Lord. His response was simple and sweet. God told me that trusting Him doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t experience storms, it meant that even after my heart had been chewed up and spit out, He would be there to comfort me, rock me, and tell me everything was okay. Just as my father was doing right in that moment.” I got teary-eyed! Thanks a lot! This was beautifully written and gave the reader a sigh of relief.

    I feel so out of the loop asking this, but I saw the term in another writing; could you kindly inform me what a “kiwi” is?!

    Aubri I was very hooked while reading your story that I had to slow down because I was reading too fast in anticipation. You choose such a relatable topic for readers to connect and relate with. I had no idea I would get teary-eyed while reading through everyone’s short stories, and I hate crying! You are talented in my eyes, and I hope you continue to grow and thrive as a person and a writer! God bless!

  5. Michelle Cordova


    I appreciate you opening up about an experience that is so personal. Your story is relatable on so many levels, and your descriptions of Will, heartbreak, and anger make it easy to feel what you feel while also forcing my own painful memories to the surface.

    For the most part, I think your essay is perfection! There are a few issues I noticed with punctuation, mostly missing commas between two independent clauses that are separated by conjunctions. I also noticed, in the second paragraph, second sentence, “When I wasn’t looking, the sliding doors opened and Will and strutted through them with an intimidating, but somewhat sleepy sort of confidence” that something was off. Maybe 1 too many ands? And lastly, in the 5th paragraph, I believe the word locked should just be lock. I also feel, in the middle of the essay, that there is a gap. It went from being in a restaurant to breaking up to a phone call that left you angry. Did you break up with him over the phone? You said that you hated him, but I am having a difficult time figuring out why as you didn’t give many details regarding the conversation?

    The structure and flow of your paper, I feel, is great though. Your intent is clear the whole way through and I never had to guess which emotions you were feeling throughout the different stages of your relationship. “In an instant, my stomach would fill with seasick butterflies” is such a great way of expressing a feeling that is difficult to describe, especially to those who have never experienced it. “My internal wildflower was wilting”- break my heart! Honestly, I know, from experience, that this must have been a difficult thing to write about, and I liked the way you included your dad and God, and the anger you felt towards them in that moment.

    Love is a crazy thing that is incredibly difficult to describe, but I think you nailed it. We can’t force it, or we will end up like the elderly couple you mentioned in the story- tearing each other apart. We only have one life to live, and we have to do what we feel in our hearts to be right, even if it is painful.

    Your story is touching, real, and honest, and it shows from beginning to end. Again, thank you for opening up and writing a piece that shows who you are and how you overcame a difficult time in your life. These are the moments who define who we are and also show that no matter how badly our hearts break, we have the power to choose how we deal with it. We have the power to be “okay.”

  6. Jessica Honebein

    Aubri! The essay flowed very easily and gave me more of a perspective on your life. I did like how I was able to follow you in your feelings and experiences until the end of the essay. I think that you had a good amount of word choice that helped enhance the writing. I was easily able to picture all the important scenes in my head. I think that the story is also relatable, in a lot of aspects in life. I think that you captured everything that needed to be provided to the reader and expressed it in a good style of writing. I also like how you ended the essay and tied it into your personal life. It truly shows how this story has impacted your life and will continue to this experience as you progress. I think that the stories helped to enhance the plot of the story and learn more you as the writer. I feel that this essay helped me not only experience this heartbreak with you but also helped me learn more about you.

    The essay is written well, I do not think that there is much that I would advise for changing the essay. I think that one thing that could help to enhance your essay would be adding a little dialogue. I think that the detail about your wise friend giving you advice was a good supplement to the essay. However, I feel that the reader could be included in the essay a little better if there was dialogue. The only other thing that I would say could help enhance the essay if it was just a little clearer on why you hated him, or what really happened in the conversation of the break up. I know that it can be difficult sharing such an impacting detail, however I think that if you did it could really help the reader feel your emotions and truly experience what you did.

    This essay had me feeling all kinds of emotions, I went through a rollercoaster of emotions. I think that the story helped me relate back to my past. I honestly feel like this is a strong subject that helped create a well written essay. I think that the breakup and feelings you went through were described very well. It is hard to just get over the fact that someone that was once so important to you is not just going to be noted as your past. I think that I can relate to falling for someone to fast and being in “love” with someone. I was able to follow you emotion wise as I have felt similar feelings throughout my relationships. I think that it always is terrible to go through a breakup because you never do start the relationship thinking that it is going to end in so much pain. I think that everything does however end for a reason, and when it does something new will always come out of it. I overall really enjoyed to read your essay and here how a heartbreak affects some other people. It is a strong and emotional subject to write about so I give you props for being able to express such deep feelings.

  7. Sierra Russell-McCollum

    I have to say, your piece was very well written. From the moment I started reading it to the end, I loved it all. The way you write is so freely and everything flows together perfectly. Throughout the entire narrative, I felt like I was standing with you witnessing this all first-hand, instead of second hand. Every scene you painted a clear picture of what you were experiencing and seeing, making the reading much more interesting.

    I can’t relate to your situation, but it was heartbreaking for me to read. I have witnessed family members living in a hateful relationship. My grandparents claim to be happy but I can see between the lines. Like you said, one is clutching the marriage papers while the other is clutching a throat. I don’t know how people can live their lives like that. You should be living the rest of your life with a person who you truly love and feel comfortable with. In the beginning of your story, I felt the awkwardness you felt. I remember when my boyfriend and I just met. He was the cool basketball stud while I was a girl who was also invisible. When he was interested in me I was so incredibly nervous.

    The only part I couldn’t relate to was you not loving him the same way he loved you. Reading this part was hard, I couldn’t imagine being put into that situation. The way you talked about it was done so maturely while adding so much emotion. I loved how you added the exact feelings you felt. That took the writing to another level. This story had so much emotion put into it and there was never a point where it got to be too much. The consistency of your writing helped make reading it go smoothly. Also, I didn’t see any noticeable mistakes in your grammar, and I know that’s another reason while it went so smoothly.

    I really enjoyed the ending of your story. I can see how the event affected you but it also made you stronger, and your writing shows that. When finishing the story I did not feel like I was missing anything from the story. You made sure to cover everything that was important to make your story the way it is right now. The way you wrote the relationship and how it fell apart slowly was done very nicely. Nothing happened too quickly. There was always a purpose for a point that you were bringing up and that helped the narrative flow freely.

    You made narrative feel so real in so many ways. There were moments where I felt my heart hurt for you guys. For example, when you told him you didn’t love him anymore. That was so hard for me to read. The way you wrote that scene was so powerful and it really hit me in the feels. After finishing this story I had to sit back and think for a moment. Your narrative definitely has a wow factor. You should definitely be proud of this piece, everything about it is done so incredibly well.

  8. Ben Knapp

    Your essay was an enjoyable read, even though it was sad. You bring the reader into your experience and leave the reader feeling sympathetic. Writing doesn’t have to always be happy, sometimes the sad stories are important to tell too.

    Your opening paragraph reveals very little about what is going to happen later in your essay, but draws the reader in nonetheless, which is a nice effect. Soon the reasons for the emotions shown in the first paragraph become apparent, further drawing the reader in. Your anxiety is reflected upon the reader as the tension in your essay grows, and then begins to lend itself towards what could be a happy ending. It begins to seem like the essay is going to be a happy tale.

    This illusion is crushed once the reader has read the phrase, “Heart break isn’t something you plan.” This foreshadows what is going to happen next, and lets the reader know what kind of story this is going to be. There can be no doubt in the reader’s mind that the happiness that seems imminent from the beginning of your essay is not going to be. You move onward with more foreshadowing, and the reader becomes painfully aware about what is going to happen next. Reading begins to become almost painful as the reader begins to want to get the worst of it over with.

    You surprise the reader by not moving directly on towards what you have foreshadowed. You instead talk about the time you spent with William and the suspense builds, forcing the reader to slow down and appreciate what you are saying. By now, the reader is pretty sure what is going to happen, and the further time spent before getting to the crucial moment keeps the reader’s anxiety building as he moves down the pages, dreading what he knows must come next.

    Then, at the very peak of it all, you get to the crucial moment. The suspense that has been building for the past page or so is finally let out as you tell about how you and Will break up. The reader has known what was going to happen for almost the whole time, and yet it still somehow is painful. The reader feels devastated, but he is somehow relieved knowing the worst is over.

    From there, it can only get better. You discuss how you still feel bad, but things are not as bad as they used to be. Once the initial shock is over, the reader slowly begins to recover from the initial pain of it all. The story begins to turn to one of healing as you talk about how you began to slowly get better.

    Altogether, despite the sad parts, I enjoyed reading your essay. One thing I would have liked to see is more about how you and Will got together, although it might no pertain directly to the story. It was a moving story, but a good one. You lead the reader on the same journey you took, and the reader feels the pain of your story. The message is a harrowing one, but a valid message nonetheless.

  9. Corbin Knapp

    Wow! Your piece is really powerful! I felt like I was there reliving your emotions and thoughts. Your use of colorful descriptions and metaphors brings the piece to life, with seeming ease. It is touching and very personal; a job well done! From the first moments when you were waiting for Will to emerge at the airport, to the last paragraph where you mention through all the pain, confusion, and mixed emotions you would be okay, it is a very real experience that I think many readers can connect with.

    Your essay flows smoothly, and your similes and metaphors such as “Insecurity hit me over the head like a bat” and, “in my instant my stomach would fill with seasick butterflies.” bring an already great piece and extra bit of spice. I think that you managed to fill every one of the requirements for a personal narrative essay. You involve the reader in your struggles with your emotion which you eventually overcome. You forged a deeper focus and engagement with your piece and managed to tug at your readers heartstrings. You brought a significant closure to your piece, and the structure of your essay made the piece a pleasure to read.

    Throughout the piece you describe your relationship with Will, and how over time it began to feel different. The heartbreak at the end was touching and real. If you wanted to expand the piece more you could go into why Will came in the first place. Did you know him before he came? If so how long? Even so you don’t have to follow my suggestions, I thought that your piece was a perfect size and had just the right amount of details and descriptions to make a piece that “just feels right.”

    Some parts of your piece that I thought were really powerful include, “I was trapped in winter, waiting for a spring that never came. My toes were cold, and my body weary.” and, “Maybe this is just what love feels like, I’d tell myself. After all, what did I know about love?” These are powerful sentences that really connect the reader to your writing. There are many more sentences like this, examples being, “She’d spent what felt like days screaming, crying, and begging us to explain to her how this could have happened. Shocked thirteen year old me pleaded with my dad to never let that happen to me.”

    Overall I thought your essay was a wonderful insight into the mystery that is love. From its ups and downs to its best moments. You use descriptions and emotions to craft great paragraphs that connect the readers with you in a deeper sense. That is a mark of a great writer. I congratulate you on a wonderful piece and wish you continuing success in your writing. I have my fingers crossed to see more of your work soon. I hope you have a great Sunday!

  10. Katherine Whelchel

    Hi Aubri!
    Wow, wow, wow! Your piece is so good. You expressed your heart in a clear and concise way while still including depth and unique descriptions about your internal struggles. I love the way you write, and I think that your mom was right; you are so gifted! I enjoy the way you think, feel, and express yourself.
    You are a real person and a real writer. It is so refreshing because I feel that it is easy for writers to become people pleasers and only write what sells or is desired. I got to dive into your life and see through your eyes, what a treat! Don’t change the way you write!
    As I read, I felt like my heart was being pulled out of my chest. Though this sounds dramatic and excessive, it is true! I felt your pain and was transported into your story. You set up your scenes really well, and you smoothly transitioned between internal and external descriptions. To me, this is exactly what creative non-fiction is. You let your heart lead, and the situations just flowed out from there.
    I have never been in a relationship, but I still feel like I related to your story. Your title basically sums it up, “Telling the Truth”. It seems so simple and is commonly said, but not many people actually live truthfully. Through hesitating about whether to tell Will how you really felt or not, you were technically trying to wade through your life and figure out what was truth and what was not. This led to a great internal battle that you did so well at conveying.
    I sometimes struggle with either living truthfully or going along with what others want and expect of me. It is so dangerous to form a habit of believing others as if they were your own mind. I am so grateful that you finally spoke up, even though it was incredibly hard.
    Honestly, I wouldn’t change anything. You clearly put a great amount of thought, time, and energy into this creative non-fiction essay. Congratulations on a job very well done! Keep writing passionately and truthfully! In this piece, you definitely told the truth! 

  11. Caitlyn Williams

    Hi Aubri!

    The beginning of your essay starts with such a scene that I can’t help but read on! Your descriptions really capture what it feels like to have anxiety. It’s a tough thing to deal with, and I’m glad you feel stronger! Your anxiety in the beginning of this essay made me curious about what made you feel that way. I was also a bit lost as I read on. Who was Will with? How long have you known him? It was witty to describe him as a kiwi, it made me smile while reading. I almost thought it wasn’t descriptive enough until I read about how he seemed like a dreamy professor. That made me visualize a bit more.
    Throughout your essay I feel the emotions coming through in your writing. It moved me and one emotion I felt was nervousness. When he ended up in the backseat of your car, it made me really feel for you! It must have caught you off guard! I wondered if his intentions were good, and they were. It must’ve felt kinda weird to have someone worship the ground you walk on. I’m glad your gut feeling was there. Some people do end up like the elderly couple that were at each other’s throats. This made me wonder about marriage and how someone decides to stay married when they’re clearly not in love anymore.
    I loved your ending sentences in paragraph 11. “My internal flower was wilting.” The description of you dimming and wilting made this piece powerful. It felt realistic, and I liked the raw truth of it. These powerful feeling words were your instinct, and it’s beautiful to to see that shine through in your work. It sounded like a hard thing to do; to break it to Will. I’m glad you did, and It made me happy when you said you felt stronger! Keep listening to your instinct. I Your essay was overall really interesting and descriptive!

    Submitted- Sun Feb.11 @ 11:07 pm

  12. Cassidy Kramer

    I liked your story a lot. Honestly, it was kind of a downer, but a good downer. The kind where you are just wishing for a happy ending for the two characters, but you know that the lesson learned is far more important than a “happy ending”. I am just a teenage girl, have not found any love yet, besides God, my family, and my dog, so I am still just longing for a perfect guy to come into my life. When I think about my future with this perfect guy, I think about only the good things. I do not think about the heartbreaks that are yet to come, so your story helped me realize that a relationship without heartbreaks is inevitable. Whether they are small heartbreaks, like a fight or something that happened that disappoints me, or big heartbreaks as in break-ups, I need to be ready and come to the reality that they will happen.
    Everybody is longing for a happy ending for the boy and the girl in stories, so it is hard to read stories like yours. It is like when your mom tells you something you are doing wrong. You do not want her to tell you, but you know that it will help you later in life.
    As for revising your story and giving corrections, I think that you have done a very good job in your structure, and keeping the reader distraction-free. I liked how you remained at a level that was not too descriptive, but not completely lacking description. It is very hard going back and forth from details to explanations, because you do not want the reader to get confused or to lose the “magic” of the story. I think keeping your story at this level allowed you to send a strong message to the reader with also telling them about you personally.
    Since the beginning of your story I was hooked. The teenage girl inside of me was just screaming when you mentioned beautiful Will. You described the nerves perfectly. I was able to recollect to a time when I had a crush on someone and did not want to ruin it with my words or weird actions. I especially liked the nerve part because it made me feel a sense of kind of a guilt, because I know I do the exact same thing.
    I also liked how you added those paragraphs in where you talked about how you did not think you would feel heartbreak or how it is not something you plan, because it gave me, as a reader, an insight to an ending that I did not want. I kept reading hoping that you just added those in there to throw the reader off, but deep inside of me I knew that it was not going to turn out the way I want it to. Again, you made these added paragraphs work because you did not go too far into detail.
    All in all, I love your writing. Keep being a wonderful woman of God.

Comments are closed.