We all have stories. Our lives are stories. Everybody else’s lives are stories.
We tell stories. We speak them out loud and we act them out by how we live our lives.
So just what is a story? Dictionary.com has seven different definitions:
- a narrative, either true or fictitious, in prose or verse, designed to interest, amuse, or instruct the hearer or reader; tale.
- a fictitious tale, shorter and less elaborate than a novel.
- such narratives or tales as a branch of literature: song and story.
- the plot or succession of incidents of a novel, poem, drama, etc.: The characterizations were good, but the story was weak.
- a narration of an incident or a series of events or an example of these that is or may be narrated, as an anecdote, joke, etc.
- a narration of the events in the life of a person or the existence of a thing, or such events as a subject for narration: the story of medicine; the story of his life.
- a report or account of a matter; statement or allegation: The story goes that he rejected the offer.
Sounds to me like just about everything is a story, wouldn’t you say?
I love that word, story. Story. It just kind of rolls off the tongue, don’t you think? Stoooorrrrry. I love it because I think a story is so many different things. It’s what we tell ourselves. It’s what we believe to be true. It’s what we tell each other, our friends, our co-workers, our kids, our family. It’s the situation we find ourselves in: waiting on the side of a busy freeway for the tow truck to come change a flat tire, sitting in a hospital room preparing for a “procedure” to begin, blowing out the candles on a cake to celebrate the birthday of a new addition or an older family member’s longevity, enjoying happy hour with friends, navigating the crowded streets during rush hour, walking among the trees in the quiet of the day. I could go on but I think you probably get the picture – the minutes and hours of our days make up the stories of our lives. (Isn’t that the name of a soap opera or something?)
When I tell myself that whatever is happening in my life, whatever situation I find myself in, is a story, just a story of one more thing that’s happening in my life on Planet Earth, I become far more interested in how the story line is proceeding and I find myself watching the unfolding of the story as it makes it way to the conclusion. It’s kind of like reading a book. It’s a way of being observant, I suppose, of being a participant in the story instead of having the story happen to me. When the story is happening TO me, I begin to feel like I’m not in control of the story, like someone else is in charge of the story, like I’m a victim of the story. Even if I have no control over the specifics of what’s happening in the story – the doctor is late, the food I ordered isn’t what it should be, I burnt the toast and have no more bread to make more toast, my dog dies – even when it seems like the story is going on without my input, I can still choose how I respond. I can choose to be mad at the doctor for making me wait or I can throw a hissy-fit because I don’t have toast that isn’t burnt and I really wanted un-burnt toast. When I’m a participant in the story, even when it’s something I might not have chosen if someone had asked me if I wanted to be in this story, I feel like I have far more perspective and so I’m calmer on the inside. I’m not so calm, on the inside or the outside, when I feel like I’m a victim of the story.
One of the reasons I started writing this blog was because I had so many stories running around in my head, and I just wanted, no, needed, to get them out of my head. Maybe I wanted to make room for more stories, and as long as the stories already in my head were taking up valuable space, I couldn’t get any more stories in there. I felt like the story shelves were full! So I began writing, telling stories of what was happening in my life, putting my stream of consciousness into black on white, the words in my brain just falling out through my fingers. I began to get more perspective (there’s that word again!) on the craziness that seemed to be happening all around me as my life as I knew it came crashing down around me, as things changed more rapidly than I could keep up with. It helped me keep my sanity long enough that I finally began to feel like I could add two and two and actually come up with four, instead of three and three-quarters. The dark pit I had mentally fallen into gradually became lighter, my face began to smile more, my brain began to function again. I could look up from the ground as I put one foot in front of the other and trudged onward, as the trudging became less trudge-ery and more light-stepped.
And you know what? Even though at the time, I felt like the world around me was covered in a thick, black fog, like there was no hope for things to ever be any different than they were at that moment, for some strange reason, telling those stories allowed me to go on, one day turning into the next day. Today, I know I could leave Planet Earth right now, and I’d be satisfied that the life I lived while I was here was a good one, that someone smiled today because of me, that I tried to leave the space around me a little peaceful, and for that I’m glad I came. And it’s all because I told my stories.
So think about this: if your story is getting you down, if the story line is not going the way you think it ought to, if the characters in your story are boring, mean, or just plan ignorant, if the scenery in your story is dull and drab, start writing yourself a new story. Think about the “plot twists” you want in your story: do you want different people around you? do you want a beach setting instead of a mountain setting? do you want new adventures in your story? Whatever it is, you can start to re-write your story right now and the first step is just deciding that you want to change the story. Just being open to the change in your story will put change in motion. And if those changes start happening a little faster than you’re used to, don’t panic. It just means you’ve put yourself in charge of writing you story and the Universe is setting out to help you make it happen. If change seems to be coming slowly or not at all, think about whether or not you’re truly wanting to change your story. If you’re honest with yourself, you might surprise yourself and find that the stories of your life are okay like they are; they’re comfortable; you didn’t really want to change the story after all. That’s okay, you know. It’s your story! You can tell your story however you want to. And don’t let anyone tell you otherwise!
And now I’ve told you a story about stories!
I do so love stories, don’t you?
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I’ve heard from some of you that I have some stories to catch up on so I’ll do my best to get some of those stories written (I think that’s a record – that word “some” showed up three times in that last sentence! Oh! And “that” is also three times in the sentence about “some”! Ha!) I’ve had requests for more information (including photos!) on my wrist repair surgery and updates on my health adventures, for more stories about food and new places to go and see, for more stories about people, places, and things (“more” times three!). And then of course, there’s always stories about coffee. I’ll see what I can do…
8 thoughts on “Stories. Oh, So Many Stories.”
Lois I believe this is the best story you have told. What I got from your story as a reader is to be present in your life and not give up and be a victim. Enjoy what’s going on no matter what and you do and I find myself thinking, why can’t I do that. Look at Lois with all her physical challenges right now she still has fun. She not only has fun she shares her fun with her friends/readers. As a blogger myself I know it is therapeutic and I also know it makes it even better when you have helped another with what you write. So keep doing what you are doing Lois because you do good my friend!
Barbara, your comment brought tears to my eyes – happy tears 🙂 Sometimes when I write something, I hesitate to press the “publish” button. I’m not sure why but I do know that sometimes I go back over what I’ve written over and over again, trying to see if I can delete any part of it. I rarely, if ever, end up erasing anything, although sometimes I might add something more, maybe a clarification. But I know I write for me and if I am true to that premise, then I would be denying myself and even more, I’d be lying to myself, if I deleted any part of it. Thank you so much for your kind words. I appreciate you and am so happy we are friends! <3
Lois, you are so right on. Life is one big story, no matter how dark, how light, and how long! We make the story and we decide whether to share it or not! I love the fact that you love to share your stories! Every day brings a new story to our lives and as you have said, we make it what we want~~~scream every time there is a bump or throw up our hands and enjoy the ride! Your perspective on life is so refreshing and reminds me of how we need to just enjoy each and every day and everyone in our lives! You my friend, are a blessing to not only me, but to the world!
Cyndi, you cannot know how much I treasure our friendship. Or maybe you can – I just made that up 😀
To know that after all these years, after having lived in the same town, gone to the same schools, known some of the same people, walked the same streets, I have someone in my life who is like a “soul sister” for me (I really don’t know where that description came from… but it seems to fit so I kept it 😀 ), who I connect with on a spiritual level (again, I have no idea…), just makes my heart sing in ways I don’t have words for. Thank you for your friendship, for sharing your family with me, for accepting me into your life. You rock <3
A great foundation for beginning a new year. Sadness shared is halved; happiness shared is doubled!! It pays to share our stories, warts ‘n all. Happy New Year, Lois!!!
Thank you, Marilyn! Thanks for sharing my life through my stories; thank you for our “chance” meeting in an Oregon hotel parking lot; thank you for your sunny outlook on life; thank you for sharing your own adventures with me! I look forward to the next time our paths cross in person! Happy New Year, Marilyn! <3
You are, as always an inspiration to me. You are the best story teller i know. Thanks for once again reminding me to stay upright and march foward. ☕ one day soon we will talk over thoses fancy drinks you love
Linda, you have been an inspiration to me, as well – walking through unimaginable pain and yet still continuing to move forward, even when it seemed like one step ahead included two steps backwards. I’m so happy we met and I continue to follow your adventures!
I think we might have to do a meetup (or two!) if you’re coming through Washington on your way to Alaska!
Carry on, my friend – you are amazing! <3
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