Wednesday, 18 July 2012
31: Everybody has a story
Since I started “a40something life”, a few readers’ comments got me thinking about how everyone has a story. But more often than not, they choose to keep it to themselves, preferring not to expose themselves nor re-live the past. And I get that. After all, why dredge up the past and re-open old wounds? And yet, I write.
In a previous life, the one where I was NEVER going to get married or have kids, my ambition was to travel the globe singing and writing songs that would touch people. I did get a little taste of that life, even going on to win a publishing deal for one of my songs; but then, life had other plans for me. And for the longest time after that, I forgot about writing.
In the years that followed, the idea to write did raise its head now and again but I was at a loss what to write about. It was only earlier this year I decided to take the plunge, opting to touch on a broad range of topics, with the intention of (hopefully) getting a chuckle or two. To entertain. But never in my wildest imagination did I think I would end up scrawling more somber topics and leaving myself so bare. So emotionally naked. And yet, still I write.
I smile when some of my readers are surprised to learn that it sometimes takes me several re-writes before ‘publishing’, with some taking weeks to complete before feeling ‘right’. Why? Because although some of the stories can be heart-rending, it is not my intention to come across that way -- there is no need to feel sorrowful for my past for it’s a bygone time. Nor are my stories intended to shame or discredit as no one is perfect -- we choose diverging paths, each trying our best the only way we know how.
And yet, as I reflect on the stories of people all around me, (many of whom have much more harrowing stories than mine), I am reminded that the anguish of my youth is trifle, and pale in comparison with the atrocities that so many suffer undeservedly. And I feel humbled. And petty. And so I write.
Not to air dirty laundry. Not to garner pity. But to say: “Hey! I know things are rubbish at the moment, but hang in there, because things have a way of eventually falling into place and I’m a good example of it.” For those lucky enough to never have known a hard time, that’s fine. But for those who are stuck in a chapter of their lives where things just seem impossible, maybe, I can make a difference. And if I can touch one heart, move one soul, inspire one person, then, that is why I write.
Everyone has a story to tell. Some have really fantastic ones and others not so. But our lives are made-up of our stories and chapter-upon-chapter of character-molding and sometimes life-changing experiences. The person working in a call centre taking your order, the driver in the car overtaking you, the garbage guy, even the person who doesn’t know you but goes around spreading idle gossip about you. They all have a story and its not fiction.
And so, to everyone out there with a story, you are not alone. Don’t give up the good fight and remember American author, Mary McCarthy’s words:
“We are all the hero of our own story.”