I wrote a 900 word post this morning, a (hopefully) thought-provoking piece about the perils of our criminal justice system for those living with mental illness. The whole thing was set within the context of a friend’s current incarceration. Ace read it and rejected it. Nope. No way. Ix-nay on the ost-pay. Too personal. Not our story to tell.
What if I removed any possible identifying information, altered genders (not mine – the protagonist’s gender), changed the location of the prison? Nope. What if I got the friend’s permission to post it? Nope.
Why, Ace, why? Someone who reads it might figure out who you’re talking about. But it’s in the public record! It’s personal. S/he might feel a further slight to her/his rights/humanity. But I’m on her/his side! It’s too depressing anyway. You should write about happy things. If we don’t talk about this nothing will ever change. Nothing’s gonna change anyhow. It’s like global warming. (Talk about depressing.)
Ace is fifty shades of stubborn. And I do wish to be respectful of his feelings.
Shame sits at the heart of this matter, the potential embarrassment of being outed as a person living with mental illness. When mental illness and “the law” collide, lives are lost. So that’s all I’m allowed to say. For further reading try this piece from the Human Rights Watch.