Our Stories Matter

I’ve been writing publicly for almost a year now… yikes! Though it never gets easier, I think it’s safe to say that I have had some good practice in opening myself up to whatever scrutiny, misunderstanding, or judgment may come.

And you know what?

Nothing. happened. I waited for the moment someone would call me out, to say I had made allll the mistakes with my writing or my choices or my beliefs. No one told me I was wrong. Nobody told me I was weak or stupid. In fact, the opposite happened. I had you sharing your stories with me, opening up, and giving me back all that honesty I had put out.

But even then, sometimes it felt hard to write exactly what I was thinking. My brain automatically resisted complete honesty to protect itself from vulnerability with you, and even from my own judgment.

My mom was a writer. And then I came out a writer. I’m sure our brains as humans all work a little differently, so I will do my best to explain mine to you. I am the master editor of my thoughts. Almost every thought I have goes through a filter of “…but am I right? How could that be worded better? What can I learn from this? How can I turn around these thoughts to make myself a better person? How do these thoughts come together to form a logical web that feeds into a thesis?”

Y’all, I’m crazy. This is an hourly occurrence.

That’s why I quit songwriting. I could experience the stories, feel all the gut-wrenching truths about life that I learned along the way… and I couldn’t put it into relatable words. I couldn’t let the truth organically fall into place. I wanted the perfect rhymes or the most relatable phrases. I got caught up in the presentational nature of it all. I wanted to make the words perfect. I thought too much about what others would think.

I was on an airplane last Thursday, and somehow it clicked. I realized that I actually had the power to turn my editor off and listen to my intuition. What did my gut want to say? What were the details? How could I tell it like it was, not as I wanted it to be? It feels like a key turning in a lock inside my head.

I had found what felt like an entirely new way to think.

Once I figured out that I could let my brain go without stopping to revise every detail, things came pouring out.

I wrote four songs and came up with the ideas for five more… in about two hours.

Y’all, I haven’t written a single song in over a year. Why? Because I had started to tell myself that my story wasn’t valid. That it wasn’t worth hearing. That it wasn’t unique enough. That it was too painful. That I am not special. Essentially, that people would never connect to it.

Then I understood why this blog has been so difficult for me to write, at times. Each time I questioned “Is my story even valid?” I wasn’t just undermining my stories, I undermined your stories. If I didn’t think my story was important, valued, and essential to the human experience, how would I ever prove to you that yours is, too? I have never once questioned the power of your stories- so I had no right to question my own, either. 

I have always told you the truth. Now I’m wondering if I’ve always told you the whole truth. I’m willing to bet that my best pieces told a little more honestly than the others.

Here’s my challenge to you this week– find an opportunity to actually say exactly what you want this week. If you need some help, get quiet. Don’t speak or write quite yet. When this happens to me, I will open up the notes on my phone and simply start listing phrases and words that come to mind, whether they make sense or not, as they come to me. You’ll start to see the words shift and put themselves together all on their own. Or grab a trusted friend and start thinking it through out loud. I know everyone has a way they think best, so harness that and give yourself the space to explore and experiment until you find the truth.

Let yourself be seen. Let yourself be honest. Let yourself be powerful. You’ll feel it. And please tell me how it goes!

Leave a Reply