Create Your Own Story

Who will you be in this world? Only you can decide.

Inevitably you will make a story. It will be about someone, or something, and maybe a set of circumstances. Your heart and brain will team up, free-falling in the chaos of discomfort, and grasp for structure.

We (humans) like order. We are most comfortable when it all makes sense. We suit up, into our world view, and put something together before our next breath can even leave us. We are vocal, and like crows, we tell it out.

Sometimes the stories are skinny — just the bones, and then silence or brief commiseration, before they are laid to rest. Other stories are richly made, with characters well-developed, and plots swaddled in opinion. We play with the storyline, to engage any number of diverse audiences.

Maybe it serves us to be the bad guy, but often we are cast in fair light. Some will try on both roles, and ultimately, these valiant blends of fraud and truth take on lives of their own. We rest in their perpetuity.

Next week, someone else will build a story, and it will be about you. You will be firmly rooted in your life, maybe with a loved one who is suffering, or maybe with your children. You will be living the truth, as only the unwatched do.

You will sleep. You will forget to water your plants, and you will see them wilting. You will water the plants, and remember you, too, need water. You will spend a lot of time sitting, or avoiding sitting. You will skip a few meals, and eat things you didn’t intend to.

And when it is time to step back out, holding the gathered bits of your own story, you will need to hold them firmly. Because outside, you will meet the stories assembled in your absence, and the caricature of yourself; the heroine or damsel, the knight or villain.

You will know, immediately, how the best (or worst) intentions met with idle chatter and the passing of time. Quietly, you will see where the truth grew wings, and which versions found the tiniest flaw in your good armor. Incredulous or dismissive, bemused or betrayed, you will wrap up your raw emotions, and go back home.

Our mistakes can damage. Ill-equipped to love with wisdom, we become more whole by knocking down the bones of our loved ones. We pretend it is avoidable, yet every single one of us is insufferably human.

If we are brave, we push against our shame, and we repair. Often, we just keep pushing one another over. We will encounter some of each, over the course of our lives. We will find ourselves at the precipice, over and over again.

So hold up your bones; they are yours. You do not need to chase down and correct every wayward story about you. There is only one, and you are not a crow. Joining the noise will make you weary.

The people who want to hear your story will come to you. They will shine well on your bones, and carry them preciously, and remind others that these are only bits. They will tell the best part of the story, which is that only you can tell it correctly, and that you do it so well. Free of overlay, your story will live well, and from beneath the fuss, it will stand strong.

Tanya Beard is a recently retired psychiatric nurse practitioner, yoga teacher, and writer in Redmond, Oregon. Her blogis a heartfelt tribute to the nuance and universality of little human moments.

Post originally shared on Holstee’s online magazine, Mindful Matter.

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