Once upon a… are you listening?
We all have stories to tell. No matter how boring or normal or whatever you think your life is, you have stories. They may be small, big, funny, serious, heartbreaking, or just plain weird, but you have them.
There’s a lot of stuff out there about love, relationships, friendship — all of the different ways that we connect with each other as humans. (Or completely fail to connect, as the case may be.) Sometimes, I wonder how many people out there are just looking for someone who wants to hear their stories. Ever tried to tell someone a story — maybe about that funny thing that happened when you were on your way to work — and watched their eyes glaze over? Or maybe they were suddenly busy looking at everything on the planet that there was to look at except you? Maybe they even started talking to someone else who happened by, just as you were about to get to the funny part?
Ok, fine, that person is probably just a jerk who’s not worth your time or your stories, right? If something like that happens to you more than a few times, you might start thinking, “It’s me. I’m boring and stupid and no one cares about me.” (Or maybe you, like me, jump straight to “I suck” because that’s the reflex you’ve been honing for years. Or maybe you’re impervious. I’m not judging.)
I think that I probably have a medium amount of stories to tell. How do I know? I’m making it up. I assume that there are tons of people who have a lot more stories to tell than I do, but I also know that I’ve got quite a few, so let’s call it a medium amount. Arbitrary self-assessment is kinda my thing.
For example, I know a guy who was once a National Geographic Adventurer of the Year. I assume that that guy has way more stories than I do, and that’s fine. I think that trying to compare your stories to someone else’s is a deep, dark hole you really shouldn’t jump into. People have different experiences, different lives, and different circumstances. That doesn’t mean that my stories are worth less than his, or that yours are worth less than someone else’s.
Sure, I haven’t trekked across the world, but I once broke down in the middle of fricking nowhere in Texas on a Sunday, which led to watching my dog face down and chase off a pack of aggressive wild dogs with nothing but a lowered head and a flat stare. She never made a sound. She never moved. She just stood there, staring, head down, radiating a heaping helping of, You sure you got what it takes, guys? She’d turned into the Dog with No Name. It was tense. And amazing. I really miss that dog.
Your stories mean something to you. They’ll likely mean something to someone else, too. Whether you’re looking for an audience or just a sympathetic ear, there are people out there who can relate to your stories. Finding those people can be difficult, but I think it’s worth it to keep trying.