Writing Your Story
In the documentary Nora Ephron’s son made about her, “Everything is Copy,” Ephron talks about how her Mom used to say phrase to her growing up. She never really knew what it meant, but gathered it was about how something can happen to you, but when you write about it, you own it.
She explained how writing about her experiences put her as the creator of her own story. So even when something horrible happened to her, by writing it, she owned it. The process took her from victim to author.
Thinking on this made me realize how when I integrate, accept, and allow my experiences to be the source of my strength, the things that once made me feel weak become the outlet of my power.
Become the writer of my story means no longer hiding under the mask and fortifying myself by the sheer act of speaking my truth. Realizing that when I do this, I don't just strengthen myself, I validate others on their journey.
Which, let's be real, isn't always easy. Especially in regards to the topics I write (and think about) often: unplugging, tuning in, taking the leap—into the world, or into yourself. A lot of times I'm met with crazy eyes when ideas fly out of my mouth around people who don't speak my language. It's taken me time and reflection to realize this is not a reflection on myself (aka to not take it personally) and is rather a mirror of the person and their own fears of change.
But I know by doing this, I get to the core of the human experience and realize how interconnected we really are. Only when I speak up do I learn the story that scared me the most to tell, is the same story that connected me to another persons experience. We think we are so alone in our struggles sometimes—yet the shared human experience is so real. There is not one thing I've gone through in my life that someone else can't relate to.
So, today is National Write Your Story Day.
Which is exciting, because I live in a country where I have the privilege and the opportunity to wake up every day, and write my own story. I get to be the author of my life, and express myself freely without fear of retribution.
An email from Amber Rae, author of the upcoming book Choose Wonder Over Worry, tuned me in to this day. She shared an experience at a workshop with Cheryl Strayed and asked, “Do you lie to your journal?"
Woa. Right!? This one hit me hard. I was half terrified at first. Of course my brain leaps to victimizing myself, “oh my god I lie to myself all the time!” my self-doubting mind roared. But then I stopped myself and got curious. Do I lie to myself? How do I know? How do I know when I’m being true?
The answer I came to, is I know because of the way it makes me feel. When I’m operating from my truth I know it because it feels right. It feels aligned. There is no questioning.
I reflected on this question through my morning pages (my favorite morning exercise) and then I took a piece of scrap paper next to me and wrote the first page of my book proposal. With my head wrapped around this space of “National Write Your Story Day”—it just felt right, for me—to choose myself. To not wait for anyone to choose me. I'm taking this process nice and easy to not overwhelm myself with expectations. One page of the proposal a day. If I want to do more on day, I will, but focusing on consistent baby steps for now.
It's easy to take for granted the fact that I live in a country where I have the choice to write this blog post, or an Instagram post, or article expressing myself fully without fear of what could happen to me as a result. The most basic human right is freedom of speech, and it's one I intend to exercise daily in this lifetime. Days like today remind me to let my story exist outside of myself, to be honest with myself, and take the first steps, consistently, towards expressing my truth.
What's the story you're dying to tell? Will you dare to write the first page?