You know when people say, “Hey…so, what’s your story?”
We all have a story. That’s undeniable.
Usually this question means, “What’s going on with you right now?” Unless, perhaps you’ve just happened to find yourself in a crazy situation straight out of a movie and you need to detail your character history or establish an alibi.
I happen to enjoy the phrase immensely; I will ask my kids that question to hear about their immediate plans, or what they’ve been up to thus far. It’s kind of fun for a change in vernacular.
In the big picture though, our story is “our life story”. We have several versions of this. Even someone, probably a famous someone, who has written an autobiography, has but written one adaptation of their lives. Not to mention all the many threads to our lives.
Also an entire life cannot be retold. Isn’t that fascinating? First of all we can’t even remember every little detail. Secondly, most of it isn’t interesting to others. And third, some of what we do “remember” is often false memories.
So we go with the highs and or lows, the best or worst that we’ve lived through. We try to keep it interesting for the listener’s sake. We embellish a bit here and there. We creatively edit…literary license and whatnot.
Surely the whole point of writing your own life story is to be as honest as you possibly can, revealing everything about yourself that is most private and probably most interesting for that very reason.
— Judith Krantz
In the end though, the best that we can do is tell our own story from our very own perspective. Sure, even that can be skewed by outside influences, aging and time, as well as societal pressures and expectations, but it’s as close to the truth as we have.
Those truths are your truths, they are Your Story.
When I contemplate my own life story, I think about what defines me as me. That’s when I realize that I’ve read more quotes and thoughts on what does not define us, and little on what does.
Maybe that’s because we’re not expected to define ourselves? We are ever changing and ever evolving. With each experience we become something else; wiser, disillusioned, scarred, inspired, rejected, stronger. Sometimes we have setbacks on the trek, and other times we leap forward.
No one can take your journey from you, unless you let them. We learn as we go and we can change the direction things are going, which doesn’t technically rewrite our story, but it can begin anew as if we’re starting a fresh and purposely better chapter.
If we can figure out what isn’t working, then we can hopefully stop doing, thinking or believing that. When we don’t learn from our escapades we risk getting stuck in patterns that are generally detrimental to our growth.
You write your life story by the choices you make. You never know if they have been a mistake. Those moments of decision are so difficult.
— Helen Mirren
I believe what Ms. Mirren meant was that you never know if the difficult decisions have been errors until later, sometimes much, much later. It’s almost as if our entire lives are “Choose Your Own Adventure” novels, remember those? They were categorized as children’s “gamebooks”, an entire series where each story is written in a second-person point of view, so the reader assumes the role of the adventurer and makes choices that determine their actions and the plot’s outcome.
So for us as well, our choices can drag out a storyline, while some will cut it short, just as some are positive and others not, all affecting the outcome. Other times we are making a choice without even realizing it. And I won’t even get into The Butterfly Effect today…
For instance say you were proposed to by your significant other, you have to choose to accept or decline. It’s a major life choice not to be taken frivolously. Obviously turning it down will cut that storyline short, but there’s so much more to consider, so much goes into it, and accepting it is not a guarantee that your life will play out in any one given way. Sometimes not accepting a proposal or job offer can be serendipitous, as it can lead to a much better outcome. And at times, it seems, we sabotage our own happiness.
I used to think, ‘How can I write my life story? I’m still living it.’
— Frank Serpico
Right now I am kind of feeling like I’m at a crossroads. I kind of feel like my life has been cut into two parts. I’ve marginally felt this way before, for instance life ‘before and after’ moving away from my family to attend university, getting married, also having children. There was “part one – growing up in Canada”, “part two – living in the United States” and who knows where “part three” of my life story will go?
But what I’m pondering specifically is directly the result of having gotten through a stroke. In the “survivor community” it is often referred to as your Rebirth, and each anniversary of “the day” it occurred is considered by many to be your Rebirthday.
I hadn’t heard this concept before I actually was a part of this community, a support group environment to help each other cope with our “new” way of living, in a way our new lives. So, I’m not sure how that sounds to those who’ve not been through it, but now we’re the same, but different, emphasis on the different for many. From what I gather it’s like most any healing, it’s usually the most difficult in the beginning.
Not for everyone though, I suppose it depends on the severity of the stroke. I’m learning, first hand, that every person’s stroke recovery is different. The parameters of everyone afflicted can vary, vastly.
It’s a physical journey, of course, and that’s probably one of the only things that I might have been able to surmise before my own experience. For many that’s a daily challenge and struggle that tests the most determined of us.
But it’s also an emotional journey. From my own experiences I’ve had to deal with overwhelming fear and anxiety. I’ve felt discouraged and frustrated that I can’t “get better” to the point where I want to be. Depression is rampant among stroke recoverers.
So anyway, I’m currently trying to figure out where this all fits into my life story. I’m making choices regarding my healing, my therapies, and my future. I’m dealing with my physical recuperation and I will never give up on that. I can’t know how much I will regain, and that can be overwhelmingly exasperating some days.
Trickier for most it seems, myself included, is facing the emotional scars and vulnerabilities stroke seems to bring to the table. It’s a very isolating roller coaster ride, with many ups and downs every single day.
It’s as if this particular “Choose Your Own Adventure” scenario started when I awoke in this “stroke” plot (not a best-seller for the fun-adventurous types, let me tell you) and I immediately had to choose what to do next.
So now…when I amble into the mostly deserted saloon, and start to make chit chat with the affable bartender, what do I say when he asks, “Hey…so, what’s your story?”
You see, I just don’t want the first thing that comes out of my mouth to be, “Well, I’m not myself anymore because I suffered a stroke”
…but I also cannot pretend that it didn’t happen. Can it be a part of who I am without defining me? That’s my quest. Right now, that’s one of my stories.
I am a female human being who is a daughter, sister, wife, mother…that’s technically my story, but that’s so bare boned and un-colorful. I certainly have a lot more to my story than any one facet. Not to mention there’s a lot more to come, more living to do and more writing about it here! Won’t you journey along with me…
The one thing that you have that nobody else has is you. Your voice, your mind, your story, your vision. So write and draw and build and play and dance and live as only you can.
— Neil Gaiman
― Raina K Morton July 8, 2014
What’s your story, morning glory?
What makes you look so blue?
The way that you’ve been acting
I don’t know what to do
For I love you, sure as one and one make two
What’s your story, morning glory?
Got a feeling there’s a lot you’re concealing
So, won’t you let me know your point of view?
“What’s Your Story, Morning Glory?” — Ella Fitzgerald