Stories feed us. They long to be told but they also need an audience.
We are all storytellers. It’s our way of making sense of experiences and passing what we’ve learned to others.
History is full of storytellers. One of my favorites is Anne Lamott. She taught me about what it looks like to be completely authentic about the good and the bad in life — or in this case, the downs and the ups. Grace and faith flow through each page of Anne’s books, and I sip from each one — much like I do from authors Shauna Niequist, Cheryl Strayed, Elizabeth Gilbert, and several others!
But, books aren’t the only place we can find or absorb stories. Sitting across from another soul and exchanging the parts of life that are longing to be told is a beautiful interactive experience. Parts of our journeys are exclusive to us, but by telling another, we could dramatically alter the direction of his/her life and possibly even heal a part of ours in the process.
If we’re unsure about something, we listen to the stories of others and hope to learn something and grow. Most of the time, it’s stories that give us answers to life’s questions. Why? Because they are universal. We may all be different people, living different lives, but stories bring us together. They often focus on the obstacles or twists and turns of life, and for the most part, we can all relate. You can find themes of love, resilience, and courage. The root of one’s scars and the foundation of one’s beliefs can be understood through the exchange that occurs when we share and listen.
Motherhood is one of the stories I can tell of the most rewarding, yet daunting pursuits of my life. The desire to have a family has always been strong, but I never imagined the challenges or uncertainty that came along with one of my big dreams. Whether it’s choosing the best baby food, deciding what discipline methods I should use, or learning ways to help my kiddos reach their expected milestones, these things have all been decided based on the stories of mamas who have gone before me.
Along my motherhood journey, I have drunk in stories like a cool glass of water on the hottest day of the year. I need them to keep me going and I need to share for that small chance I may hear a “me too.” Stories have been one of the biggest components of turning me into the mother I am today.
Dreaming is another story I can tell — the curating of dreams and the actions that follow. And the best part is that I’m in the middle of these stories right now! I am in the midst of exploring and writing the direction I will go and the “happily ever after.”
And so are you!
Stories are one of the best ways to remind yourself that you aren’t alone, so don’t be afraid to share yours! Here is a good place to start.
If you’re interested in sharing with the community of Downs Ups & Teacups, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. In the meantime, think about how you will share your story and make a plan to do so!
“Don’t forget — no one else sees the world the way you do, so no one else can tell the stories that you have to tell.” –Charles de Lint