Trust30 – Your Personal Message

What is burning deep inside of you? If you could spread your personal message RIGHT NOW to 1 million people, what would you say?
Stop. Take a deep breath. Listen deep inside. All this frantic rushing about isn’t getting you anywhere. You don’t have to be “important” to matter.

You have a story to tell. A story that is yours and no other’s. Don’t spend your life being a bit player in somebody else’s story. More to the point, don’t let other people convince you that you are a bit player in their story. Spend your energy on your priorities and passions and loves. Be kind, be gentle, but be firm. “No, darling. This is my story. Please stop trying to recruit me into yours.”

You do not belong to your parents, or your employer, or your lover. Enter into agreements freely, play your part, but never allow the role to consume you. Too many are eaten by their roles, forget that they have a meaningful part to play and a story to tell that can’t be taken up by somebody else. That existential alarm? It’s real. Pay attention to it. But don’t let the ego get you, either. It’s a fine line… a dance, perhaps.

Someday you will go to your grave. And someday the world will be consumed in fire. You have This Moment to be honest. Be kind, be gentle, but be firm. Tell your story, because nobody else can.

6 responses to “Trust30 – Your Personal Message”

  1. Ah yes, for so much of my life — until sometime in my twenties, or maybe even more recently — I thought that the story I was telling is my mother’s. It’s a difficult delusion to let go of.

    So, I feel like this question is an obnoxious one, but here goes: What are the theoretical underpinnings of your deep faith in storytelling? I ask because I want to learn more….

    • I’m going to go with a couple of things here…
      – George Kelly’s Personal Construct Theory (1955) This was presented as a book on a therapeutic technique to help people examine their belief systems and hold them up against reality. *I* think that the constructivism thread in educational theory draws upon this… but it is one of my claims that would require enormous research efforts to substantiate. I encountered it in my education degree, though, so I can’t be the only one.

      – Thomas King’s “The Truth About Stories” (Massey Lectures, 2003) (This isn’t really a theoretical underpinning. It’s more of a blew-me-away, shattered-my-worldview kind of thing. After I read it three times, or so. First I spent a lot of time thinking, “What? What is he talking about?”)

      – I took a course on the social construction of the idea of race. It hinged on poststructural analysis, and Foucault’s idea of the genealogy of ideas and concepts, as well as Knowledge/Power. At the same time I was taking a course on feminist pedagogy, also founded in the postmodern worldview. The sentence that comes to mind came from the instructor of the course on Race, who was also a Queer theorist, and he said, “Pay attention to your reading practices. Catch yourself when you rush to judge or apply before you have truly grappled with what you are reading.” In essence, (or at least I claim) catch the story you are telling in your head and how it is resistant to the story that the author is presenting, and in particular, in what way your own identity is informing that.

      – Oh! Also, Toni Morrison, who said that writing and reading are a negotiation between the author and the reader (I hope that I’m not misrepresenting her here. I only read it once in passing.)

      – and more theoretically, hermeneutical analysis… Shaun Gallagher’s book Hermeneutics and Education is brilliant, and provides a wonderful grounding for “what can be said”, “what can be heard,” and the limitations on each. And also, the practical implications to education.

      Is that enough to be getting on with? 🙂

      • Thank you!

        RE: Toni Morrison on writing and reading as a negotiation between the author and the reader, that sounds like the transactional theory of reading, which we learned in education grad school. We read The Reader, the Text, the Poem by Louise Rosenblatt. I wonder if I still have my copy?

  2. “No, darling. This is my story. Please stop trying to recruit me into yours.”

    Seonaid, I love this. It speaks to the power of my own story, and the service I provide to the other by refusing to be recruited into her/his. My story might include a dance with theirs, but it surely isn’t dependent on or thwarted by theirs.

    When I look back on the stories I have allowed myself to be stapled into (my father’s, in particular) I realize how diminished I have become in those areas. How empowering now to dislodge the staples and to reclaim who I was then and who I am now.

    Thank you for this. Beautiful.


  3. […] The Practical Dilettante, Seonaid shares her personal message: You have a story to tell. A story that is yours and no other’s. Don’t spend your life being a […]