How To Give Your Story A Voice

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“But I don’t have a story!” she says, defiantly.

Another waste-of-time workshop, masquerading as a fix-all for the broken business woman.

Stories are reserved for those with racy pasts, romantic tragedies; the comeback kids.

She was just a middle-of-the-road, (wannabe) middle-class, miserable girl who was trying to ‘make it’ – whatever that meant.

That night she had a dream.

She was taken back to the first week of university, when she met on intense character who would quickly become her closest friend, mentor, confidant – and fellow mischief maker.

Her friend had a story.

Oh boy did she have a story.

One that our middle-of-the-road protagonist had no way of relating to – she had led such a bland existence in comparison.

Unsure of what to say after hearing her friend’s tale of a broken home, bullying and co-dependency – she fell silent. She shed a few tears.

After some gentle prodding, she revealed to her new friend:

“I’m so sorry. I don’t know what to say. Nothing I’ve been through compares to your past.”

And her new friend replied;

“Of course not. It’s MY story.

Your story is different, yes. But you’ve felt pain, sadness, joy, despair, embarrassment, shame, relief – right?

It was just in different a context. The details don’t matter. It’s all relative.”

When our dreamer woke up, those words lingered;

IT’S ALL RELATIVE.

The next day, she began to give her story a voice – and stop judging how undramatic it might be in comparison to others.

Through sharing her story, in blog posts, podcasts, interviews, on stages – and churches – her favourite thing to hear afterwards is:

“Me too.”

Because at the core of our stories – as unique as they are – we share common human experiences – and that’s what we relate to.

The more we share our stories, the more opportunities we have to have those ‘me too’ moments and connect on a meaningful level with our sisters and brothers.

Cat, sharing her story

The next chapter in her story is co-founding Wildfire Women, alongside fellow storyteller Théa Anderson.

Not sure you have a story? Cat Rose defies you to find yours and come armed with it, big or small, at Wildfire Women this September.

How to find your story

The first step is looking back in your history for the moments when something shifted for you.

One way to identify a shift is by feeling for any discomfort in your body. When you recall those past conversations, do you feel something? In your stomach? In your hands? In your throat? Look for commonalities. When else have you felt that way? Was that the first time you felt that?

Try to investigate these feelings and emotions with compassion and curiosity. Journal, take a walk, cry, make art, talk with a friend – whatever helps you process those feelings. Sit with your memories and watch yourself without judgement.

Another approach is to look at certain eras in your life. What core aspects defined your childhood? Your teens? How did you express yourself back then? Did you stop anything you once loved in these periods? Did you start something? Who cam into your life then? Who left it?

Sometimes, things happen that change the way we see ourselves and our place in the world. We might become overly apologetic, overly critical or overly perfectionistic because something has changed about how we see ourselves. Think about the points in time when something happened to make you feel separate, ‘not enough’ or ‘too much’.

What about the difficult parts?

It’s important to grieve when we are facing the difficult parts of our story, but we need to do that grieving from a place of hopefulness – not despair. For some, grieving is best done through movement, for others it’s through music or other creative outlets – whatever it is that allows you to feel like you can let go.

When we go to these places and recall these memories and emotions it isn’t easy! Try to remember that this process involves some pain, but it can be lessened if we have compassion for ourselves and those in our past. We can’t change the past, but we can come to terms with it.

Remember that even though the circumstances may be unique to you; the feelings and emotions are universal. By opening yourself to these, you’re sharing something in the deepest sense with beings everywhere.

All of this is will give your story – big or small – a voice.

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