I've told so many stories about my past. The older I get, and the more work I do, I realize so many of my stories were my perception. It's not that someone meant for me to feel bad or put down. But through my filter of life, and my personality, that's how I took it.
Complicating this has been a lifelong struggle with feeling confident... that I can trust myself, know myself. If I'm not feeling confident and self-aware, it's even easier to be the victim/martyr in my story!
I played that role a long time. Occasionally now it still pops up... but, I catch this pattern quickly and put effort into what I want to create... instead of taking a passive, resigned role.
This past weekend, I was super blessed to hear Lena Kikka, a Charlotte native now living in Germany, talk at Pachyderm Music Lab. Her topic "Old Girl in a Band" shared the story of how anxiety and illness kept her away from a music career until after age 35. My new friend (thanks Marie Forleo B-School) Krystle Baller invited me.
Even though I felt a little anxiety about meeting new people, I made myself go. And through Lena's sharing, I learned a fabulous practice I want to incorporate in my life and share!
Lena had a map of Germany on the table, with different note cards and items. There was a windup caterpillar, a perfume bottle of the radio tower in Berlin, a punk rock plastic girl from the local drug store. And a little mini suitcase. The notecards were high and low moments in Lena's life journey - with speed bumps, fun questions related to her life; and in the suitcase creative suggestions she thinks of when she can't sleep at night.
The whole experience was magnificent! I especially loved her speed bump stories. We would wind up the caterpillar and see how far it would go on her path of stories. Then the participants would read a question. "You are on the road and there is no where to use the bathroom? The side of the road offers no privacy. What do you do?" She asked the question better than I just did, but you get an idea of the process.
I loved this idea of writing our poignant, true, scary, sketchy, funny, dangerous, hurtful stories and then leaving the end open and asking someone else: "What would you do?" Then, we share what we actually did.
Yesterday, Krystle and I spent some B-School time together. I felt inspired to tell her a few of my stories. She looked with shock - not at me, but the scenario - as I told her of specific dis-empowering examples from my past. I felt safe to share with her how I chose to NOT stand up for myself and let myself sink to lower standards.
Being able to share this in "Lena fashion" felt more light-hearted, and "Can you believe this??" It helped me see my story with more compassion and as a great learning tool - as in "Amy, don't do that again!"
We all have so many stories. My goal is to keep looking at them for learning and re-writing them into more confident, empowering ones! I bet you have some stories with high and low moments too. Feel free to write one down, leave out the ending and send it to me. I'll let you know what I would do and send that back to you. Then, you can tell me what you did do!
We will live, love and rave about all the great life changes we keep re-writing together! And, that's the best story ever!!