“Strange as it may seem, my life is based on a true story.”
~ Ashleigh Brilliant
It’s such a strange moment when you realize that your life is a story.
For me, this happened at the age of eight. I have a strange memory, usually consisting of feelings, emotions, and intuition rather than actual events. But I do recall this distinct moment in time. It’s like a snapshot in my mind.
The carpet is tiny harsh strings stranded together to make little stalks. The stalks are blue and purple, but the colors are so close in shade and mixed with miniature red specks that it all blends together, making the floor a pool of fuzzy blue. There are lips of carpet that go up the wall about six inches, then give way to thin off-white paint over layers of wallpaper. These walls are on either side of me, stretching up to the ceiling and down the hallway towards the big room I once called “Big Church”, otherwise known as the adult’s sanctuary. The walls have gashes and some of the speckled ceiling tiles have slowly-spreading stains, ugly brown against the whiteness of the hall.
My mother stands at the end of the hall. She is speaking with another woman, a lady of the church who wears jeans and a white blouse. My mother is smiling, her face fresh and hair a rich chocolate brown, draped over her shoulder in gentle waves. Her hands are open in front of her, assisting her storytelling with exaggerated movements, and her voice echoes through the hallway and my memory.
“She ran after him. ‘Come back!’ she said, nearly tripped as she ran…”
This was odd.
My mother, like most of us, doesn’t tell stories in a casual setting as though she plans to later put them on paper. But on that day, that distinct moment in time, she chose to tell her story in a way that an author would write it. My child’s mind erased what else she told the church lady–perhaps she was simply quoting a novel she had read. But my mother’s diversion from her normal method of telling stories stuck out to me, and from that day forward, I began to novelize my own life in my mind as I went about my day.
“She tossed the laundry in the dryer…'”
“Hey, wait up!’ she yelled to her friends…”
“She wondered if he thought her new hairdo was pretty…”
I learned an important lesson that day, though it would take me years to realize the truth.
I have a story to share.
This idea developed as I grew. I began to see that just as each novel is unique–despite using the same story structure again and again–each life is unique, as well. So is each perspective, each worldview, and therefore, each story.
Thus, everyone has a story to share.
We all have something unique to give the world. Perhaps it’s a lesson learned while baking cookies. Perhaps it’s a cautionary tale of a young teen misadventure. Perhaps it’s wisdom passed down from generations past.
Whatever the story may be, it is worth sharing. It deserves to be heard. Our stories bring us together in a way that nothing else can. Drama club in school. Hashtags on Instagram. Groups on Facebook. Vloggers, bloggers, YouTubers. Support groups. Even the music we listen to. The world around us is full of stories that bring us together, give us community, and teach us lessons.
We all have stories to share. Each one is unique, even though we’ve all lived a version of this life. I am going to bring these stories to light, share them with the world.
Every story counts.