I need you to know this is not easy for me – to write. I told my husband today I am not sure I can keep going.
One of the very worst parts about telling our stories is that it leaves us vulnerable. It opens us up to so much criticism. People decide they understand our stories and pass judgement. Or somehow our story collides with their story and it makes them uncomfortable.
Discomfort always does strange things to people.
And perhaps this is why we don’t share our stories and remain silent. For we are afraid if we expose our stories to the light they will hurt more.
Or they will be misunderstood.
Or we will conclude our story does not matter.
But the truth is every story matters.
And our pain.
Each story holds a purpose. And by unlocking our stories we allow them to fulfill the purpose set before them.
I watched yesterday as a friend shared a part of her story on Facebook. It was brave and it was courageous. Frankly, it was long overdue. You can ask her – I have literally been trying to get this chick to use your voice for a LONG time. I don’t know how many pep talks we have had about speaking up BUT I assure there was no shortage of encouragement on my part.
I have never been one to be silent. It is not really my nature. IT has gotten me in trouble a time or two. But mostly, it has served its purpose.
So, when my friend used her voice, I could not have been prouder. You see, we came out of the same environment where stories that did not fit within the system could not be shared. And in that environment, I got louder, and she shut up.
She finally found her voice yesterday and this voice led to other people using their voice. It was overwhelming how many stories had commonality.
Yet, there were also those who told her to silence her voice. Don’t share your story. It was inappropriate or unwanted. Some even called it negative.
I encouraged my friend today to know that these are not your people. Your story was not meant for them and that is ok.
As I write this, I realize I should probably take my own advice – my story is not for everyone. And that is ok. It does not need to be.
Frankly, maybe my story is just for me. To get it out. I have never done well with leaving words locked inside.
But I am reminded today that my story has a purpose and it matters.
So, I encourage you to not forget that your story matters. Find the space to tell it. Find the people to tell it to – for your story could make all the difference in another person’s story.
So, here is to being brave and telling our stories.