Last week I had a conversation with a friend. She is a good friend, someone I trust and aspire to be like (and maybe I also envy her because in my eyes she's so beautiful). I told her how much I hated feeling pressured to write what people want to hear. And why can't I figure out exactly what that is? But she looked at me like she loved me, like a friend loves. So I kept talking. I talked about story coaching. "Maybe I should write about that?" I said. She responded well, I'd be interested in hearing about it. And for some reason I was surprised. But I continued talking.
"I wish I could say that I just want people to want to write. You know? I want people to enjoy it. To feel inspired, to feel like they're creating something. To feel like their stories matter."
My friend nodded.
And what I really meant was that I want people to know that they themselves matter. That who they are is enough. They don't have to doubt that.
How could I myself miss the message? To sit with my friend, be in her presence and feel loved, but not trust that others might love me, too? What if, (such a crazy thought), what people want to hear is what you yourself have to write. Whatever drives you, your life, your thinking, your obsessions--people might want to hear that.
Honestly, every day I have to choose to believe that my own story is worth hearing. I have to consciously tell myself that I am worthy of being loved. And this is how you begin writing--let a small bit of confidence propel you into words, into images, memories and recollections of experience. Just write what you know--a story of you, or someone else, or something in your head. Stories are our lives. They're what make us human and not beasts or animals or robots. We feel. We intuit. We know and remember hurt.
The hard part of storytelling is going to the sore places and writing them down, even just for yourself. So tell your story first to yourself, then to someone you trust. Then tell it to others, then tell it to anyone who will listen, who asks, who seems open. Empathy increases when we are honest with each other and offer grace and forgiveness.
Forgive yourself (you, me, I, us), for what you'll do in the future, for what you've already done. The mistakes of your real story, your fiction story, your future story. Move forward in the faith that you are loved. That your story is worth hearing. Be true to your story, be honest. People will want to hear.