Every now and again on Facebook there is a new round of some tag and share thing.
Last year it was throw a bucket of ice on yourself. And the most recent I’ve noticed is, ‘7 Things You Don’t Know About Me’. How it works, the first person posts their list of seven unknown facts and tags (nominates) one of their friends to write their own list.
And on it goes, 1.23 billion times until 2020 when it pops up again.
I love reading what my friends have shared.
Snapshots of their journey. A story in two lines. Even though a friend and I could have shared deodorant for two months while travelling, there is so much more.
These posts on Facebook are popular.
(Mmm, maybe because it’s not so much about the Face, but more about the Book?)
I think it’s because we have space and opportunity to be heard.
For someone to say, ‘Tell me your story’, it’s the ultimate invitation to connect.
I think too many of us have been taught we don’t have the right to be share – children should be seen and not heard – and we spend many years in systems where we are taught to listen to facts instead of people.
As humans, we crave to share our stories. By sharing we don’t feel so lost. Isolated. Alone.
I think it’s in all of us to be intimate and connected with one other.
When we share we don’t feel the distance between us. By sharing we can put down what we don’t want to carry alone anymore. Stories – unforced – always seem to come at the right time so we can learn from them.
And, I think we crave life conversations. Real conversations.
I am aware that there are many stories within in all of us we aren’t ready to tell, not yet.
Choosing to throw a blanket over parts of ourselves, to never expose them to another because they lay bare (and we fear the judgement?) all our shame, fears, flaws, regrets and weaknesses.
If Maya Angelou hadn’t told her story in I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, I’m wondering right now if would I have become aware of inclusion, human rights and discrimination.
If Julie Chimes didn’t tell her story in a Stranger in Paradise, or if I hadn’t heard the story of George Castrinos, I’m wondering right now what I would really understand the human capacity to forgive fully.
Maybe their teaching would have reached me in another form, but really, really, I don’t know.
Stories transform: in the telling they can change the entire direction, meaning, and purpose of our lives.
We are filled with them, all of us, no exclusion – it’s our stories that connect us and stitch us invisibly together.
I think we have two books: the one we open, read and share with others willingly, and the other we keep on the shelf, for our eyes and night time reading only. And I think it’s the content of the second book is where we can help each other the most.
Just last night I was listening to Eva Schloss. Eva is the step-daughter of Otto Frank, the father of Anne Frank. Eva is a holocaust survivor, in the interview she said that it took her 40 years to tell her story of her experience in the concentration camp.
Why am I writing this? To remember to listen, it may be the first time someone has been heard.
Our stories are powerful. Sure, there is a time and place for the telling.
But the power that fuels them comes from the storyteller – you.
You don’t need to have the ‘Happy Ever After’ to tell them.
Our stories can imprison us, and at the same time, they can set us free us.
What’s the narrative in the second book that may set you free in the telling?
PS: here’s a little download ‘My Authentic Self’ – it may help with the telling: if you’re a she click here if you’re a she, and if you’re a he click here for yours. No difference apart from the use of the word He or She.
PPS: live in Edinburgh? Please check out Moxie Campfires, come and sit by the fire.