Many Stories Liberate

Happy New Year!

I can’t believe it’s already 2016! I feel like I just started this blog. But here we are! A year later…

Blogging isn’t easy. It’s a commitment that I’m not always great at keeping. I’m hoping that this year I can maintain my schedule. I’m actually going to start writing every day — not posting every day but at least taking an hour to write.

I love writing because I love storytelling, and I love storytelling because I believe in storytelling.

I’ve always enjoyed writing, but listening to Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie talk about the dangers of the single story inspired me. In this TED Talk, she shares how we are often told one single story about a people, a country, or a situation and how it becomes our only truth about it. But there is never one single story.

By hearing many stories, we are liberated. By telling our stories, we liberate others.

Humans of New York is proof of that. It has allowed people all over the world to connect with someone they wouldn’t normally. It changes our perceptions on refugees, poverty, race, and people. It reminds us that everyone has a story.

One of the few things I appreciate about social media, is that it allows us to tell our stories. Obviously, people lie, exaggerate, and front, but that’s a story within itself!

During the month of December for Advent, I wrote little Facebook messages to people who have liberated me with their stories. They share their joys and struggles with unabashed honesty.  Despite us not being close, they allow me to celebrate their accomplishments and share in their disappointments through my computer. I don’t always comment or like posts but I still acknowledge their story and am so inspired by it.

Many of the people that I messaged were parents because I realized a few months ago that I definitely had one single story about parenting. My mother and I are 20 years apart and my grandmother and I are 40 years apart. My whole family is very young. My youngest uncle is 7 years older than me and some of his kids are younger than my nephew and niece. I had always hoped that I would have children by the time I was 25 years old — and then I got married at 29! My husband on the other hand has over 35 years between him and his parents. He’s in no rush to have children.

I believed that the only way to have children was when I was young or else I wouldn’t have any energy for them. Unfortunately, that ship has sailed for me! I often question if I’ll ever have children because I’m “sooooo old”. I’m thankful for the stories that show me differently, for the families that waited and share their experience with me.

Other parents that I messaged were ones whose parenting techniques are going against the norm. I’m surrounded by families who only use Netflix and iPads to babysit their children — and I’m alarmed! I don’t want technology to be so prevalent in my children’s lives but I wonder if that’s an impossible dream. I’m so thankful for the parents that are baking, painting, and building forts with their children. I’m especially thankful for the parents of teenagers that maintain closeness and community despite all the many distractions.

I also messaged a lot of people that are living their dreams.

I love seeing those memes about celebrities going from rags to riches. I don’t care if you only had $7 in your pocket, Dwayne Johnson, we just aren’t the same! However, seeing people that I’ve worked with or met while travelling really pursuing their dreams is motivating. I love reading about people quitting their jobs, loving their jobs, buying houses, starting businesses, and travelling the world. It reminds me that I too can pursue my dreams, no matter how scary it may be. It reminds me that life is meant to be good.

It is through stories that we find hope and meaning. It is through stories that we are able to overcome and carry on. I encourage you this year to share your story because it may be more inspiring than you think.

What stories have inspired you lately? Please share!

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