“if you do not own your story, it will own you”

I keep reading and rereading the beautiful words that come from this blog.

I keep saying it over and over- if you do not own your story, it will own you.  Your story is being told either way.  It is either being told because you are standing in your whole truth, having integrated whatever you think your unspeakable story is as A fact your life- or it becomes THE fact of your life, and is told through unhealthy and harmful ways- addiction, low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, eating disorders, perfectionism, promiscuity… those things are all your story being told- it’s just your story as told by your abuser.  You are not the author.

Yes, go read all of this blog. I have so much respect and faith in writers like these, who take their truth carefully and gently and then hold open their arms and ears for others’ words, other stories.

I struggle with stories. The aspiring Buddha part of me says drop the storyline, be present, let go of your ego. The shaming parts of me say keep your mouth shut, this isn’t about you, go serve others, make yourself very small. The young parts of me still deeply believe it’s my job to make everyone happy and I am responsible for their emotions. Don’t rock the boat.

And other parts of me? They know. They know the power of saying a sentence, a word, honoring a memory as it comes up, respecting the events that have happened… I know the power of just naming IT, whatever IT it may be on a given day or week or month. I know how hard it is. I know the tension of suffering and the relief that can come just from a simple sentence, an exchange, an acknowledgement.

“Do you have plans on Memorial Day?”

“Yeah, actually, I’m really excited– my roommate and I are going hiking,”

“Oh that’s awesome!”

“Yeah. I’m also relieved to have plans because it’s the two-year anniversary of a traumatic incident and having something to be fully present for is good,”

“Yeah. I get that.”

You get it, because you’ve been there in your own ways. We are people who get it.

Just naming it. With a trusted colleague or friend, shifting the weight of an anniversary out into the world makes us feel just a slight bit lighter on the inside.

Similarly, I have swum through years of painful time between Christmas and New Years Eve– deep depression, anger, and panic–without looking at its origin. This year, I put the two and two together and acknowledged that that time is also an anniversary of a difficult time– and for the first time, I named a piece of it: sexual assault. The details don’t matter, yet naming it– acknowledging yes this happened and no it wasn’t my fault and yes it’s messy and complicated…. Naming it. Sharing it. Letting go of the weight inside my chest.

Because In Others’ Words is right: The story is coming out whether we like it or not. We repeat trauma, try to get it right, try to understand– and until we feel safe enough to pause, see what’s happening, and find the courage to name it, and share it– it sits heavy inside. Way, way too heavy.

Even writing this– on a 99% anonymous blog– that shaming voice is saying no, nope, no one wants or needs to hear this. And maybe that’s true. But I’m here for me tonight, and I need to hear it. Stories are who we are– and who we are not– but that story is there whether we like it or not.

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3 Responses to “if you do not own your story, it will own you”

  1. Since quotes are kind of my thing I’ll just leave this here, friend: “If you hear a voice within you say ‘you cannot paint,’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.” Vinnie was right. If you have a little voice telling you to be quiet, then WRITE LOUD. You tell your stories. xoxo

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