When my brain begins to reel from my literary labors,
I make an occasional cheese dip.
-John Kennedy Toole
If we are comfortable applying a happy sheen to our words, try a rougher buff.
Never shy away from using uncomfortable words.
If those words speak to you, if you handle them honestly, go for it. Ask yourself, "Would the message be the same without the offensive word?" You'll understand instantly whether to keep or cut.
Add a narrator. It can add clarity and enrich a personal piece.
David Foster Wallace says to Consider the Lobster. Consider the other crustaceans, too. Take the view of the antagonist and rewrite your piece.
The poet Mary Oliver