My therapist's name is Wilson. I meet with Willie weekly to discuss life, love's box of lost & found, healing emotional and physical trauma, and learning how to move forward when things just don't make sense.
The other day, Willie said, "Why do you battle yourself so much? What would happen if you just accepted who you are?"
"Because it's not supposed to be this way. What is wrong with me that I can't just allow things to fall into place? I gotta jumble it all up, toss it in a pack, hike it up a mountain, and throw it off the edge-- and then regret the whole decision and wish I never packed it up there in the first place."
"You're being too hard on yourself," Willie says.
"I've completely messed up my whole life," I say, wrapped in a blanket and rattling my metaphorical mug with the words "Pity Me" written on it. Just shaking away, clanking against my grandmother's turquoise ring that I wear every day to remind myself of softer days. Calmer moments when she could just whisper into my ear and stop the tears.
That girl is the same girl who wakes up at 5:00 am to write her story, to run miles and miles with the Minnesota-cold sunrise, and is energized by risk and uncertainty.
She likes gripping granite walls and feeling the quiet calm of her breath and the climb. She has jumped off the world's highest bungee, moved to other countries, and has, for the first time ever, made it to a spot in her life where she gets to wake up and do what she loves every single day.
But, all that? Worth nothing because she's experienced some failed relationships. Toss her out. Effin' TOSS IT ALL OUT.
Right now, in this current moment, I'm writing this from a Condo in Florida, six stories up, overlooking the Gulf of Mexico. Could this be the greatest thing that has ever happened to me? To experience something so devastating that it leaves cracks in my soul for pure light to find and follow. To hold something so near and close to me that it's all I want, and then have it dissolve? To be ripped apart, completely.
Just what happens to a person when they are completely devastated and choose to rise from the ashes and make a decision that they are moving on?
My risk-taking tendencies (my neurofeedback brain map says I have low dopamine levels, imagine that) can be triggered to actually take the broken parts of who I am and call them grace and beautiful new beginnings.
But, you say, it's hard. I want my old life back. I want what it used to look like. Grasping for an old reality because you're too afraid that what's ahead won't be as good. That all the love, all the good memories, are in your past.
We can take all of this pain, all the parts that don't make sense, and weave them into a beautifully imperfect tapestry.
And trust that just as the sun sets, the sun will rise. The tide comes in and the tide releases back the magnetic power of the sea. The moon is bright and then it's thin. The snow comes and then it's spring. There are seasons in this life meant to forge change. A life without tragedy is a story nobody wants to read.
Your greatest devastation is your most powerful story. That's the thing people want to know: How you went through all that pain, hurt, and sorrow-- and turned it into something powerful.
March 14 is National Write Down Your Story Day. I have been working on my book since 2016, and this week (tomorrow!!) will be the final day I am working on my manuscript for Part I of a II Part series about my life. They say you should look into the world and see what's missing. What doesn't exist? Create that thing. Find a problem and fix it.
When I was in my early twenties, I wanted to read some other person's story and hold it so close to my chest that it would give me the hope and breath I needed to just feel like I was okay. Like my path wasn't weird. Like what I wanted out of life wasn't weird. Like how I felt wasn't weird. I wanted to feel known, to be seen, and feel less alone.
Your story could be that thing.
I don't know what will happen to my story after it has been edited, re-worked, and then sent off. I don't know if it will be published or I will self-publish. I don't know what will happen with it. But I do know that I am following my own unique path, and that path involves writing my story, in pure truth.
Do you have a desire to write your own story? Use the energy and power of National Write Down Your Own Story Day to delicately record your beautiful life with nothing absent. None of the hurtful or shameful parts missing. Write about all the successes and devastating losses. Write about all the love and freedom you've found. Your story is unique to you and it deserves to be shared.
Get over your fears and write your own damn story.