I went to an acupuncturist this weekend for my period issues. I ended up telling her my whole life story, which felt so liberating. That might explain why I suddenly feel the urge to tell my story here too. It was interesting, she told me that her chief concern in her work on me was “moving and building”. She was talking about actual blood, but that phrase stuck with me. I think moving and building is exactly what I need on all levels. Moving the old and building the new. Writing about what happened to me feels like a relevant way to move the old, so that I can build more new.
But first, a few side notes on process:
1. What happened to me is not who I am, it is the road on which I have traveled. I don’t identify with my story, it’s just the background from which I emerge. I was I before anything happened and I will remain I no matter what happens. Of course, the events of our lives informs how we behave, what we believe is possible, how we see ourselves, etc etc. If I thought it all meant nothing, I wouldn’t feel the need to talk about it. But I want to be clear on the distinction before I begin, because it’s easy to mistake yourself for the road. I have been there before, and that’s exactly when I felt like a victim to my circumstances, and though that was an important stage, I’m looking for the next stage. The one where I can tell anyone what’s happened without falling apart, because I am firmly rooted in being myself, and nothing can knock me down from the truth of who I am.
2. Perspective is not an objective truth, it’s a moving target. Ask me again in half an hour, and I will have a different story. My mood, the weather, what is happening right now are all going to influence how I tell the story. I know, because the story has been changing ever since I started telling it. Actually, telling it is what helps it change. It’s a huge part of the digesting process. Making sense of, assigning meaning, untangling emotions, freeing yourself from their effects. Storytelling is more than just art, it’s a powerful healing channel. (well, we could get into the conversation that all art is healing, but let’s stay focused here.) So, I’m going tell my story this way now, and reserve the right to tell it differently later. Because that’s just how it works, thank heavens.
3. We all have a story, and we all go through different things. Sometimes we go through the same things, and then our responses are what’s different. The point is, comparison is pointless. I learned this lesson very early in life, when I realized that pain is pain, and joy is joy, and any attempt at ranking them is a waste of time. There is no reason to think that my pain is bigger than yours, that your joy is bigger than mine. I’m not telling the events of my life to position myself on some hierarchy of suffering. First, I don’t believe in hierarchy. Second, pain and joy is what we have in common, not what separates us. Also, I’m not looking to be pitied, rescued or condemned, and I am not intending to shock, distress or mystify. I’m just sharing openly, hoping to be received freely.
Alright, I think that covers it. Time to sharpen my pencil.