From as early as I can remember, I have been sharing stories with all those who could hear me.
First by asking for help—telling my mother about the incidents that happened while she wasn’t around. As an empath, I felt a personal blow from the pain experienced by others. I sought help from all those around me, from my brothers, to the guru in the temple and in direct conversations with God.
I was around eight years old when my world had totally collapsed.
When I went to my brother seeking help, he didn’t believe me—or pretended he didn’t believe me. He said that “Tigers don’t eat tigers,” or “Tigers don’t eat their own.” He was actually my half-brother, but I never felt fully accepted by the children of my mother’s previous marriage. This was my first encounter with rejection. All of it was the result of being the daughter of an imperfect man, but that shadow followed me throughout my life.
Later, I started telling the stories to my peers, then to my children, and, finally, after much pain and being driven by my divorce, I arrived at my therapist’s office.
That’s when telling stories began to help me recover my self-esteem, intelligence, love for my people and where I came from, and what was good from my past.
I went into motherhood young, inexperienced, and not really knowing what I was doing. Perhaps I treated my children like my peers. I now see this was a mistake as they were not emotionally prepared to handle the information I gave them. Although they turned out to be good, loving, caring, and honest human beings, it has taken a lot of work to correct the confusion that was created.
They weren’t only confused by who I am, but by who they were, too.
My life story disgusted my ex-husband of where I came from and eroded his respect and love for me. At the time, I wanted to tell these stories. I wanted to pour my heart out to the people I loved and trusted. I thought they would be able to sift through other people’s behaviors and who I am.
However, my support system saw me differently and distanced itself from me, which made me withdraw. I always felt ashamed but wanted to talk about my issues, hoping to soothe the pain I carried inside me.
I didn’t lose my husband through a divorce. The divorce only revealed what was already lost. I lost my husband because I had the vulnerability to confide in him and tell him who I was and show him where I needed healing. I wanted to expose my wounds, but to him, it was a “cultural shock.”
So today, my therapist and friends want me to tell my story. They want me to tell all of it, but it feels scary.
Who will I lose next? How would people see me if they knew all the details and stories of my life? Will they continue to see me as an equal friend?
But this time, the reason I want to write my story is so my children and future generations might get to know something about me that they never would have known otherwise. This is my gift to them. Somehow, I know that this is more valuable than the house or any material possession I could pass on to them.
When I finish writing my memoir, it will not be for the benefit of everyone to see. It will be for my adult children to get to know me as a person, not just as their mama. And hopefully, one day, it will be of benefit for them to build their own lives. Hopefully, they can see their strengths and gifts through my memories, avoid making the same mistakes I’ve made, and understand that everything could be healed.
I hope it helps them love themselves more, make sense of why their childhood wasn’t a perfect place, and leave a legacy behind. Something that’s greater than me: the wisdom acquired through life in knowing that pain and hurt are not final.
I hope they have a roadmap into the past to help them cross the bridges that I’ve burned. To be able to answer their questions after I’m gone, to do something they would appreciate, and to help them see life as multiple shades of grey.
After 32 years in therapy, I’m still not ready to share all the details of my life’s story with the world. I know that if I were to complete writing my memoir, I need to get past this hurdle and shame. I need to get past my fear of rejection by people.
I know why my therapist has encouraged me to write my story, as it could be quite cathartic. It could potentially lead me to manifest my greatest dreams of communicating with others through writing, feeling loved, being seeing as equal, and overcoming all sorts of my insecurities.
But right now, I am not ready to share the most painful and vulnerable details of my childhood. Instead, I am waiting for myself to practice being comfortable in the discomfort of sharing my truth, remembering my “why” and the gifts I will pass on, and being gentle with myself as I open my heart through therapy, cathartic journaling, meditating, communicating with nature, and practicing yoga.
I am practicing so that eventually, I will be ready to share the stories I’m not ready to share at this moment—yet.
While I prepare myself for the hard things I share, I fully understand that bad things happen to good people and that it is never our fault. I am aware that there are people who benefit from knowing that they are not alone in what we may perceive as life’s hard journey.
I hope that sometime soon, I will arrive at opening up to the world fully.
I have been there, and I made it through.