In college, I remember telling my poetry professor that I didn’t like editing my poems. That it felt like I was taking some of its magic and significance away. That I preferred it raw and “real”. It felt watered down, too technical and unemotional, and not as impactful when I would go in to tear it apart to “fix” it.
I guess the mistake on my part was thinking that this process of editing is anything like “fixing”. I also think that it correlates to my childhood wounds where I felt my mom was always trying to make me into someone I wasn’t by telling me to change this thing and that thing, all these parts of me. And so to take something, like a poem, that was seemingly poured from my heart, and trying to make sense of the process of editing to make the piece “better”, just made it feel like it was not good enough to start with.
And this was the problem too, I think, because when we are always sensitive to not being accepted or seen, we perhaps, some of us, cling even more to certain parts of our identities. Rebelling and exaggerating and defending what feels “real”. I felt those first drafts of my poems were real. So I didn’t want to do anything that would signify erasing it, since I have felt erased all my life.