To quote Larry Smith, founder of SMITH Magazine, brain-child of the enormously popular Six Word Memoir series, and editor/author of The Moment: Wild, Poignant, Life-Changing Stories from 125 Writers and Artists Famous & Obscure:

Everyone has a stor2

Seems a simple enough question. We’re all a product of personal circumstance. And no matter how different we are – our common denominator is that we are all here to share our story.

Mortified? That’s cool. No one’s forcing anyone to stand up in front of the class. In fact, you don’t even need to be on campus. But just the knowledge that you aren’t alone – that someone else can relate – is worth a second thought.

As I continue to work on my own personal story (you can read a chapter “Sunset Strip” in Larry’s book The Moment), I’m constantly reminding myself who I am. It’s easy to get lost in the day-to-day juggling act with where we are now, (kids, school, work, family…), the very fabric which made us the kick-ass people we are today ends up tattered through time.

Remember that time you lost your shit, and didn’t think you would survive a life without that girl or guy?

How about when you learned about that horrifying accident which caused so many tears?

Then there’s that one boss or teacher who blindsided you, leaving your self-confidence in a million pieces of self-doubt, shattered on floor.

Well look who’s surviving, learning and looking better than ever in a custom Self Confidence Suit constructed from that priceless spool of fabric, Failure (I may or may not be in the midst of a Project Runway marathon).

Don’t be afraid to revisit your truth. You’ve earned it. Even if you’ve tried to forget, shoved it under the rug – it finds you. Best to own it, and embrace even the ugliest corners of your past.

Remembering the darkness brings so much more to the light. For no other reason, than to remind yourself how far you’ve come – what your soul is capable of surviving.

Truth matters. Even if you’re living a lie. Your insides know. Your bones, the space between the beating of your heart. It lives in truth. And if, for whatever reason you aren’t living in yours, it saves you a seat at the table.

“This is how you survive the unsurvivable, this is how you lose that which you cannot bear to lose, this is how you reinvent yourself, overcome your abusers, fulfill your ambitions and meet the love of your life: by following what is true, no matter where it leads you.”  – Augusten Burroughs, This is How

Here’s the part where you tell me: What’s your story? As always, anonymous comments welcome.

10 comments

  1. I’ll start with mine:

    At 14 I was diagnosed with a skin disease that left my face severely scarred. By 19 I worked as a nude exotic dancer and by 21 was a full-blown drug addict.

    From 1987 to 1996 I worked in a dozen strip bars in Waikiki, where I was raised. I was a self-indulgent, twenty-something drug addicted exhibitionist who nearly died of an overdose – twice.

    When not cheating death, I ran with drug dealers and wound up the subject of surveillance after a boyfriend fled the island with three kilos of cocaine. Rumor has it he was found and murdered.

    So what’s an ex-party gal from O’ahu do twenty years later? Well, write a book of course.

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  2. Great question to ask yourself every once in a while, because the answer probably changes some each time you sit and think about (or reframe!) it. I’m going to sit down with pen and paper and answer this.

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  3. Thank you for this Christine. I have recently been working on my own story and find people like you an inspiration. Here is an excerpt from the blog I am working on and THANK YOU for reminding me (and others) it is ok to check the rear view mirror every once in a while

    ….

    I have never openly spoke about my thoughts on addiction and recovery. I have never blogged or tweeted about my own journey with them. It was always too personal to me. Maybe it is also hard to face the dark parts of a past I worked very hard to leave behind.

    The first time I was in rehab I was seventeen years old and at twenty-two, I flatlined. I’ve done things under the influence of drugs that are unspeakable. Even worse, there are gaps in my timeline where I don’t remember a single thing I’ve done at all.

    And, perhaps my own life story is tragic enough for me to justify a lifestyle of that nature: abandoned by daddy, discarded by family, group homes, abused, raped, a list of traumas where each on it’s own would rock a person to their core. But does any of that really give reason to my addiction and behavior?

    Would I have done it anyway? What if my life had been different? Is it in my DNA?

    …….

    still working on it….

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    1. Michele – this is AMAZING. I have chills. There’s NOTHING like sharing our secrets. It’s the birthplace of healing. I’m immensily honored – and touched. I KNOW your words (along with others) will inspire.

      Note to readers: There are NO wrong answers here. You don’t have to come from abuse, addiction, family trauma. ANYTHING you share – soccor mom, married young, traveled to far off places, started a new hobby, learned a new language, weight stuggles – anything you share will be appreciated and so helpful to readers.

      Thanks again Michele. Welcome to the Other Side of Victim. xxoo

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