Everyone has a story that they’re pinned to. It might take a time to write itself but it will always come. That narrative will encapsulate much of what you think your life is about and who it has made you, and you will wheel it out at every appropriate occasion.
I went through about five years of telling my story to each and every person who popped up on the ‘significant’ radar for whatever amount of time. I told them the story to be authentic and real, intimate and honest. I told them with as much rigour as I could muster in that chapter of the emotional journey. I would listen to their reaction and I would absorb that reaction as another layer of truth or of self-definition. My story evolved and I evolved with it. I remember when it earned more pain and I remember when it gained more distance from my core.
I can’t so easily remember when I chose not to live by it anymore, but I do know that that became an option at one point. I remember when it ceased to be a self portrait and became embedded into but a single page of the entire book of my life to this space and time and viewpoint. I remember getting bored to tears of identifying all that I was to that sequence of events that would only ever be a segment of my lifetime of experience. I didn’t want to hit the end of my life and that narrative be the crux of who I was, to be the epitaph on my gravestone. It’s terrifying to open up your identity to whatever may come but the stagnation was more so.
I believed that there had to be more to me and more to life than that, so I had to let go. But letting go meant not only re-stating my story, but re-defining myself. It’s scary moving on, especially when you don’t know what the next blank page holds. But for me, it had to be done. I had kidded myself for long enough that my re-writing of the story had relegated the power of the other protagonists to nil. I kidded myself that telling the story had moved me past that point. The brain doesn’t know the difference between past and present and every time I issued forth the same words, my brain relived it all over again.
No more. No more am I anchored in moments in the past. The upshot? Excitement and momentum. It’s taken years to be shot of the subplots and the unconscious tethers, but I am getting there. And the more that is parked or severed, the wider the smile spreads and the more the hands outstretch for all that is yet to come. For life is about moving, journeying and being in presence and forward looking. Yes, it means I am changing. Yes those changes may risk confusing or alienating people around me. But I also have faith that the right ones will travel with me or catch me up to help me write the next chapter and the next.
Once again I am an author, not the narrator, and I love it.