Like our skin, we wear a need for stories. Not fantastic, imagination-fueling works of art, but the kind of stories that have a job. They are what we wrap ourselves in to feel more secure – a way to put words onto something – to help life make sense.
We place them on our children, ourselves, our friends and partners; we make them about our homes, our work, our skills, and our faults. No one is immune from being wrapped in a story, and these lay over one another to make a heavy pile of odd, tender, and confusing textiles. We accumulate quite a collection over time.
If we don’t make the stories, we itch and we squirm, and we find ourselves unable to sleep within the difficulty of everyday human stressors. It’s uncomfortable. But when we make a story, and it fuels our sense of equilibrium, we can sleep. The ground feels solid again, and the clock resumes its methodical ticking away toward each long hour’s end. Sometimes, though, they are bad stories.
These are the ones that arm us, justified, against whatever we need them for. In these, we are just a little ink wiped off the pen, but not any of the words. We keep ourselves from being a “real” piece of the story. We pick a bouquet from the rich flow of information as it passes by. Then we settle right down into the righteousness, tinged with self-doubt, for a long winter’s nap. Those are the bad stories, the ones that leave us peeking into our softest parts, where there are worries and troubles.
Our guilt, our doubts, our thick shields – they make an unreliable compass at best, but there are seeds of truth in there, ever so tiny. If we aren’t quite sure, maybe our plot line needs revising.
On the other hand, from behind vindictive certainty, with absence of doubt, we are likely not listening deeply to the flow of information. We picked a hasty bouquet; we needed it’s salve right away.
There is no way around making stories, because it is what we do, and listening to the stories is how we join together – important for our survival. But when it is time to swallow the stories, we have a choice.
Anyone can make a story, about any circumstance, at any time, and it can lift, and spread like dandelions on the wind, placing things bright and yellow and pronounced in the cool green grass around them. They take root, and there will be fruit or flowers – sweet or bitter, fragrant or pungent.
We are our own jury. Whether we believe or disbelieve, and file them away or simply hear them, nod, and allow them to settle loosely like sand, we decide.
Remain curious, and open. There is always information deep in the flow, that we are not aware of or able to hear.
Don’t let a story trap you, or others, in a sticky mess. Pay attention to the green grass AS WELL AS the bright markers all around us.
Fight the itch. Ask yourself, is it important to wrap myself in this? Is it important for this to grow a deep and tenacious root?
With attention, the need starts to subside, and then there are just the things that happen in a life, with nothing added. Those are our real stories, and we are just here.
No story should cause us to stray from a simple important fact – we are all here together, and we all have soft parts. Proceed with caution, with care, and be especially gentle when wrapping our children in story. They are the softest of all.