Tag Archives: nonfiction

Telling True Stories

Dear Melissa,

There are a few of us who for whatever reason feel compelled to write and share our stories.  To the outsider, it might seem narcissistic… or vain… or any number of other insults that we think our stories are worth sharing.  I can’t speak for you… but I’m of the camp who doesn’t give a rat’s ass whether my stories are worth sharing.  They just happen.  I choose to burn the calories it would take to keep them bottled up inside me elsewhere.  The stories go onto paper (or keyboard, as the case may be) and out in to the world.  

In other words, I understand your nervousness and your decision to be unafraid, and wanted to send you a quick note of support.

On the best days, which are rare but precious, you will receive kind comments.  Your stories … the ones that you don’t have the calories to keep inside … will help other people who think they aren’t storytellers see their own lives in a different way.  People will relate with what you share.  You will connect with like-minded people who over time become your “Got Yer Back Posse.”  Those people are a gift every day; they are even more important on the not-best days.

On the not-best days you may be criticized (or exploited, or misrepresented, or any number of other unpleasant things) in public places that you have little or no control over.  

Those days are the ones that can sometimes suck.  

Those are the kinds of days that lead me to consume a few extra calories in an effort to have the energy to bottle up my stories and not share them.  

Some days, the personal risk of being a storyteller outbalances the diffuse sense of “reward” … a word I use because it seems the only choice to counterbalance “risk,” but really… there’s not always reward in being a teller of true stories.  The not-best days are the ones where the Got Yer Back Posse comes in really handy.  On some occasions, I am able to treat the other entity involved with honey… which tends to be least expected, and which tends to make me feel better than alternative options.  Other days, I stick up for myself.  On other occasions, my friends do it for me, unasked, because they’ve got my back.  Those friends come from surprising places, and some of them, if you wind up inviting them into your “real” world… may become among the blessings that you count.

Some days you will be relieved for telling your story.  Other days will suck.  Some days there will be painful real-life consequences of telling your story.  Other days, those consequences will be a gift, because — for some of us — telling stories is the way we move our lives forward in a way that our cells and psychology are comfortable with.  

In my natural state, when I am not careful, I move through my world merely accommodating all of the other beings around me and not taking care of my self.  It requires intention and effort for me to move myself in a way that cares for me, when that move may be at the expense of someone else’s comfort or happiness.  Writing out my stories helps connect me with my wants and needs in that intentional, self-aware way, so that I can better balance my own needs and wants and the needs and wants of those around me.

There is almost never a goal for a story I write… I don’t set out to prove a point, or to move myself somewhere, or to learn something or grow… but sometimes, despite myself, those things happen.

You’re treading into territory that is hard… marriage… relationship… health… kids… and that is a marvelous gift to yourself.  To share those soft spots with others is not easy.  God knows… there are many things I’ve never written outside a private journal or “saved draft” … parts of my own story … that in the risk / reward counterbalance, I choose to keep bottled up despite the calories it consumes to do so.  

Good can come of sharing those hard parts… of exposing our soft spots.  I’m still a chicken about sharing some of those parts of my life, and it’s an obstacle for me in my own writing.  I admire writers — like you — who decide that not being afraid is good.

Thank you for sharing your story.

Welcome to the family.

With love,
Sara.