I told myself a story. I told myself a story through a very narrow lense based on the experiences of a white girl, growing up in working class family, in a very small town. It went something like this-
This is who I am (anxious, drunk, tired, moody, crappy, really awkward, intense, emotional, tidy). Be wary of those who don’t think like you because that threatens you and you don’t want to have to think about that. Don’t rock the boat ever and never make a scene. Try to make everything appear to be perfect for everyone. If you make a mistake you are a failure. If you don’t try then you won’t fail and you will be safe. You don’t have enough time or energy or money or talent to do things. You are a mediocre mom and the only way to make up for this is to feel guilty as much as possible. You can’t make a difference or help that issue because-you know-time/money/talent/energy. They must have more resources than you do and that’s why their life is better. You might as well just accept that this is how it is. You can’t learn or change because you are already grown up.
Then I shut my book and I believed my story to be the truth.
I used words like always and never and I limited myself in every single way. If my story was challenged I scoffed. Why is he doing that? She is so wrong? We are nothing alike?
My story was safe. It was what I knew. I didn’t want my story to be threatened so I projected my fears onto those who were different. I judged, I damned, and I closed them off.
And when I started to notice that my story wasn’t fitting me anymore I dug even deeper. I can NEVER change. I will ALWAYS be this way. This is WHO I am. I am NOTHING like them. I clung to my story until my fingers bled.
Thankfully (read that word again) my story was wrong. I don’t have to hold onto something that no longer serves me. I don’t have to be that person anymore. My story was wrapped in fear and years of self sabotage.
So, how did I change? How did I come up with a new story? I had to reopen the book and ask for help. I had to allow other people (more wise, more experienced, more peaceful, and more open) to help write the words. I had to be vulnerable (GASP!). I had to let go of limiting beliefs and lack mentality. I had to trust in something bigger than me.
100 books, 300 podcasts, 60 notebooks filled with words, a million tears, dozens of difficult conversations, billions of self doubts, and a general feeling of WTF-I am left with no story. I start each day with the intention to be open and to learn. I unglue those old and small beliefs and I am open to understanding that my way is not the only way.
Sometimes I am pleasantly surprised. I had it right all along and that feels good. Lots of times I am relieved that it’s not true. Other times I feel stupid that I went on believing something that is so glaringly wrong. But mostly I feel connected.
I feel connected to others. I am curious and want to know more about people, their experiences, and their ideas. I feel connected to myself because learning that I was wrong about so much feels depressing, terrifying, enlightening, and energizing. I feel connected to the earth because I now focus on something bigger than me. I feel connected to my family because I finally let myself tell the truth.
Most days I am ALIVE and energized because this world is so amazing and I missed it for so long! I feel like a child exploring new things and ideas. I believe that my dreams can come true and I don’t limit myself anymore with garbage beliefs and thoughts.
Other days I wake up and I feel terrified or deeply sad. But it’s ok because I am no longer repeating this crappy story that I am “this way." I can let the feelings move through me because I have a deep understanding of why I feel that way.
But everyday I wake up (and I mean WAKE THE EFF UP) to the fact that today is a day that I can be open to all that is to come.
What’s your story? Could you tweak it?