Daring to Write Your Own Story

I write to explain myself to myself. To take the things that have happened to me, especially ones where I have felt disempowered, and tell them as if I had planned for everything to happen.

As if living through a divorce, which left me distrustful of anyone’s ability to commitment, was something that needed to happen so that I would spend the rest of my life building community.

As if being diagnosed with endometriosis, which wracked me with unnameable pain that was brashly dismissed by doctors, was the necessary root to understanding how and why women need to stubbornly advocate for themselves.

And how do we advocate for ourselves? By not accepting the stories that are written for us but daring to write our own.

“Power is the ability not just to tell the story of another person, but to make it the definitive story of that person. The Palestinian poet Mourid Barghouti writes that if you want to dispossess a people, the simplest way to do it is to tell their story and to start with, “secondly.” Start the story with the arrows of the Native Americans, and not with the arrival of the British, and you have an entirely different story. Start the story with the failure of the African state, and not with the colonial creation of the African state, and you have an entirely different story.” Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche

These new stories do not need to become blog posts or books. They don’t need to be any good. Simply by existing, they have power. They create the mental endurance we need to look at the shit that’s happened to each of us and claim it as our own.

Getting your story down, in your own words, in the way you want to tell it, ensures that even if someone tries to tell your story their way you can say (or just think): “Uh, no, actually, that’s not what happened. This is.”

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