When I was a kid and I got into trouble, according to my parents, my teacher, or the authority figure de jour, I’d tell my story about why I did or said what I did or said.
No sooner would I begin reciting my narrative and I would be interrupted with a curt warning for me to “stop telling stories!”
“What? This is all I have to give!” I’d say to myself. If I can’t tell my story, whose story can I tell? I didn’t understand the harm in it, but I was forced to be quiet about it anyway.
Now, I understand. I understand that when I was a kid “stories” were untruths. “Stories” were elaborations that could/would only make things worse.
Fast forward a decade and a half or two: When I was raising my kids, I encouraged them to tell their story. I wanted to hear the story they created in their mind about why the said or did what they said or did. Most times, their stories would be the truth; other times, they would be half-truths; sometimes, the truth never made an appearance in their “stories.” Regardless, I encouraged the story. After the story was told, it was my job, as a parent, to encourage my kids to edit (the one(s) with the falsities) to include the truth as a main character.
Stories of all types are a good thing. I love a good story, and I will never, ever discourage anyone from telling their story because stories lead to discussion and revision and the eventual, ultimate publication of who, what, where, when, and why someone did or said what they did or said. It’s also what spurs on others, including me, to tell the story, too.
We are commissioned to ask about and listen to someone else’s story. For it is in listening to someone else that we find our own voice to tell our own story.
Hugs from the Heart,