Tell me a story
"Mummy, tell me a story..."
It's 6am, there is a slither of light around the drawn curtains heralding a new day. My four-year-old has crept into bed and is asking for a tale. It seems like a bind, but then I remember my childhood indulgence in imagination, and I oblige.
Stories dominate our culture and define our history. They create meaning and unconsciously weave our belief systems.
So what's my story?
Spent my 20s in angst and comparison. Wrote a lot of poetry and listened to earnest lyrics. Got a foot on the career rung of 'proper jobs' and started climbing with determination, high hopes and expectation.
Struggled with worry and an underlying unease that surfaced in times of stress. Had a baby at 32 and fell down a metaphorical hole. Collapsed and slowly reassembled myself. Met another mum and plugged a gap in support - Smile was born. Woke up to the realisation that what we are told is not who we are. Saw through Smile that kindness and compassion is our true nature. Watched hundreds of women and their families see it too.
Had another baby at 36 and rewrote my script of early parenthood. Went self-employed and realised the freedom of forging my own way. Realised that anxiety and depression were no longer looming in the background. Felt a strong urge to help others see it too.
We all have a story. Mine's not remarkable. And it's not who I am. I am not my story.
See, the thing is, we get so lured into a narrative that we forget that it doesn't define us. We recount our scripts so many times that we forget they are fiction. We find a strange security in the lines on the page that keep us contained and inform our next move. Because if we confront the question, 'who am I without my story?' it scares us to death.
The funny thing is that we don't fall apart when we rub out the story. All those beliefs that shape our script can slowly dissolve and we won't crumble. This fear keeps us confined in a small room - but the door was wide open all along.
My daughter Violet loves her stories in the morning. We embellish them and it brings a giggle of delight. She is lost in imagination and it's freeing because she knows it's just fiction.
When did we stop seeing that the story was all made up?
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