Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Storytelling


I have never been part of drama. Never started a fight. Never been bullied. Never had to stand up for myself. As a child, I floated among my friends without stirring the waters. I was not hated nor abused, and liked just enough to get by. Sometimes, I became the wallflower, existing as a warm, bodily presence, but only barely. I would take a whole scene in-- the flirting, the banters, the laughter-- and feel like an omniscient being-- a third person narrator. That was how I remembered the people of my childhood. While others forgot the girl in their summer camp, or that kid who owned a reptile, I remembered. 

Rewinding my mental clock, I've noticed a pattern: 
I was so busy narrating everyone else's stories that I forgot to write my own. I have a general summary of my past stages. Give me a year, and I can list my teacher, closest friends, schedule, personality, hobbies. But rarely will I have story-- an event, to define it. At least not of my own doing. My stories are either meshed with my friends' drama, my parents' fights. Or, as I grew older, my musical accomplishments, dedication, ambition. Those crushes remained just that, those opportunities flew away due to fear, and I was left waiting. For something to snap. For my life to really begin.

 Now, at college, life has begun in so many ways. Yet, make me tell a story, and I do not have one. Does the one about a newly wed borrowing my bike count? Movie nights with the roomies? Hours studying for an exam that consumes my being? 

At this point, I do not know what counts as a noteworthy story. Something that serves as a defining point in my life? Maybe I am made of multiple, minute stories, entwined together. Maybe I am in a developing story with a mystery ending. Maybe the best stories have yet to be opened. 

We are all compilations of mismatched stories, mosaics of our lives. They define a part of us, but not all. We are also what could be. We are everything that we strive for, yearn for, and will be. It's okay to not know where to start. To wish you could delete that whole passage. Or add a couple of lines.
It's okay to feel like your story is not worth reading; to guard it from others lest they snatch it away; to tuck the story in your pocket, for now, fully aware of potential revisions. 
And, most importantly, it's great to retrieve a fresh, blank page and start another story. To create new characters as you go. 

Eventually, someone will want to swap with you. To read your words meticulously as you examine theirs. So don't be afraid of the plot twists, suspense, missed metaphors. Stories are never complete or perfect entities. 

Here are pieces of my stories. What are yours?