A new story.
For years, I have been telling the same stories. Like an itch that never feels fully scratched, I couldn’t not tell them. After a while, the people whom I spent the most time with would point out when I was doing it again. I was telling that story. Or the other one. But always the same stories. Their telling oftentimes felt involuntary, compulsive even. And as much as I loathe being dismissed, the desire to tell them was greater than my reservations about rejection.
Many years into this storytelling process, I learned that my greatest fear is that I will always feel insignificant. Perhaps this is due to the fact that I’m an Enneagram Type 4 or simply because I’m a middle child. Either way, the stories I told were always centered around daring. Or, at the very least, they held some kind of shock value. I did what others were too afraid to do and, in this way, soothed my worries that I would forever feel like a nobody.
At some point, telling these stories started to get on my nerves. I didn’t like that I was telling them repeatedly and would feel drained after they’d been shared yet again. This feeling of trespassing on my own boundaries was only exacerbated by the healing narratives flooding my social media feeds. We were all healing and would always be healing. Which initially brought me comfort but eventually fed my anxiety that these stories I was telling were inescapable.
After decades of carrying these stories with me, the thought of carrying them for even one more day was enough to make me take a nap. I needed new stories to tell. Even just one. A story that would allow me to include and transcend the stories from my past. What I only just realized is that I’m in the process of creating that new story right now. My creative work just like my narrative about who I am as a creative is about to come full circle.
I know I’m on the verge of writing a new story because my current way of being, the one that loves retelling those old stories, is pushing back. They are clinging to those stories with a vice grip. Which is how I know I’m onto something. Real change, deep change, often feels like tenfold resistance, not blissful inspiration. And there can be moments of grace as my stories change; as there always is in any creative process.
Of course, integral to me being able to take on this new story that’s being written is for me to have an experience that validates it in an embodied way. I can talk about who I want to be as a creative but until I feel what it’s like to be that creative, those stories aren’t going to stick. Because a new story isn’t something we tell but something we live into. It’s something that allows us to stop hiding and start sharing the work that will help others rewrite their stories too.
What do you need to experience so you can tell a new story?