There is something about stories that entwine us together

In knots that can hold us in comfort,

With bows that can be too hard to undo, that might strangle us,

Until we are fighting against them.

 

Our stories are fragments of a much larger story;

One of this planet, this race, this generation, this community, this person.

Our friendships are made up of stories of times we spent together,

Of stories of what we might do in the future,

Of stories we wish for and happy endings that we write into our lives each and every day.

 

Sometimes our stories take unexpected twists.

They take us into the dark, where we fill our pockets with pain and disappointment

Before we realise that in the dark if we take off those layers, others won’t see how bare we’ve become.

We realise too, that our stories aren’t finished,

That even though we’ve had to lay ourselves bare to try and shed the hurt we’ve taken on board,

That we haven’t reached the end yet,

We have more of our story to tell.

 

As children, we learn by instinct and in school that stories have a beginning, a middle and an end,

And when we find ourselves in the dark, laid bare,

It pays to remember that every protagonist must go through hell, before they crawl on bloody hands and knees to the surface,

Toward the climax and the light at the end of our stories.

 

What we can’t forget either is that some stories don’t end with a happy ending.

Some stories have protagonists who begin their journey mortally wounded,

They begin with soul-crushing pain and with fear,

These stories might end in pain, but it is important to remember that their story is but a fragment,

An important fragment of the BIG story,

A pain you needed to feel and shouldn’t be forgotten because it entwines with your own,

And teaches us about ourselves and our world.

 

When my girls ask for my story, I tell them life is a choose-your-own-adventure novel,

Where each cross-road presents a choice.

I tell them not to ignore the details of the stories around them, but to look into their hearts and if what they see there speaks of a direction –

That they should take it.

I tell them that each path intersects with other stories, but that doesn’t mean they won’t be travelling alone.

 

I tell them that every story has a vast array of different characters

That some are friendly, and others are challenging and there are many who are just distracting or dark.

All have supporting roles, crucial to the big narrative, the life-line that ties everything together,

But most importantly, they can chose who they want to be.

 

We need to remember every character in each story is important,

That even if we don’t consider ourselves brave enough,

Sometimes it is the little things, the small stories shared between friends that teach them to have the courage to fight their way toward their ending.

And without your role, and your stories entwining, theirs might have been altered forever.

 

So don’t skimp on the details, don’t fret and over edit or let that inner critic silence your voice,

Because your story, is raw and wondrous,

And its hardship and joy is part of that BIG story

Which is just as important as mine.