Saturday, 15 April 2017

Why I want to tell my story


I have tried to suppress the impulse for a very long time. Years. There are lots of reasons why I shouldn't do it: For one, it would be way easier not to. Why put yourself out there for all the world to see and criticize? Why not live your life quietly, happy with what you have? 

I tried, but the need wouldn't leave me alone. I couldn't stop thinking about it. Every walk, every yoga session, every beautiful sunset, every time I stared into a campfire, lost in thought - it was there. Nudging me. There was a story inside me that wanted to come out. I tried to ignore it. If you ignore it long enough, it will eventually give up, right? 

Wrong. It didn't. 


'But I'm scared,' I would argue with The Story. 'I'm terrified. I'm not good enough. People will judge me. My family will get mad at me. Why are you making me do this?'

'Because you have to. It will set you free.'

"When we deny our stories, they define us. When we own our stories, we get to write a brave new ending." (Brené Brown)

I come from a long line of story-deniers. In my family, we don't talk about stuff. We don't share how we feel. We don't interact with the world. You put on a mask when you have to deal with people, and that mask stays firmly in place. You never take it off. You never let your guard down. You never show weakness. You don't share your doubts and insecurities. What goes on inside you is nobody's business. You do your work, and deal with all the unpleasant mushy stuff - heartbreak, depression, anger, jealousy, feeeeelings -  on your own. 

That way of thinking suffocated me. It drove me nuts. I can't hold my emotions in - if I try, they will drown me. They need to come out.
The other downside to this sort of thinking is that if everybody hides their vulnerabilities, you feel like the only messed-up person in the world. You think you're the only one who can't hold it together, who has these ugly feelings. 
You feel broken. Worthless. Less than what you should be.


You know what saved me? 

Memoirs. 

As you may know, I have always loved books. For a long time, all I read was fiction; as a matter of fact, I believed that's what it means to be a writer: To make up worlds that don't exist. I was aware of biographies, of course, but thought only famous people get written about. 

I will never forget the feeling that overcame me when I read The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls. Her memoir was the first one I read that spoke deeply to me. Not because we had so much in common (we don't), but because I was in awe of her courage. Jeannette was a successful career woman living in NYC, yet she decided to bare her soul and openly write about a family that was deeply flawed. And she didn't do it in an accusatory manner - she did it with incredible grace, dignity and love.

I was mesmerized.
From that moment on, memoirs became not only my favourite genre, but an addiction. There's nothing I find more fascinating than learning people's stories. Reading about other people's struggles helped me with my own, because it showed me: I'm not alone.
I may have grown up in a world where people hide behind facades and silence, but that didn't mean I had to continue to live like that for the rest of my life.

There were people out there brave enough to share their vulnerabilities, who opened their hearts and souls for everyone to see!

These storytellers became my heroes. They were doing the bravest thing I could imagine: Owning their story.
Sharing their flaws, because we all have them. 


I want to become one of them.

I'm not a brave person. On the contrary: I've been scared for most of my life. Still am. New people, new situations, arguments, disagreements, judgement, pain, loneliness - I fear all of those things.
(Also: Snakes, falling off my horse, getting sick, our neighbours getting made at us, losing my eyesight, bossy women, teenagers, putting my foot in my mouth, my husband dying before me, not appreciating what I have until I lose it. The list goes on.)

I have learnt that I'm not alone: all of us are afraid. No person is born fearless.
But we have a choice of how we want to deal with it:
Hiding and hoping that nobody will ever discover our flaws and weaknesses; or facing it head on.

Everybody has a story. And I have been saved by other people's stories over and over again.
They made me believe in myself.
They made me believe in the power of love.
They made me stronger.
They showed me that being weird is okay, and that being different is what makes life interesting.

Now it's my turn: It's time to tell my story.

Not only to write my own brave ending - but to show others that they are not alone.

We are all in this together.

Much love, Miriam



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5 comments

  1. "being weird is okay, and that being different is what makes life interesting." I like that and I totally agree.

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    1. Being "normal" is overrated! ;-)
      The bloggess has made a temporary tattoo for her latest book tour that reads: {Slightly irregular}. I'm considering to get it as a real tattoo.

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  2. I'm excited for you that you're finally writing down your story in such a public way! It will be wonderful, I'm sure.

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    1. I hope so! I'm more excited about it than anything I've done in a looooong time. That's gotta mean something, right?
      Thanks so much, Emily! <3

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  3. Good for you! Strong and brave, indeed. I'm so happy for you that you've reached this place - it sounds like it's just where you need to be. :)

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