I think I was born a storyteller. At first, when I was young, I hid in as safe a place as possible and told stories to myself. I imagined saving children from evil monsters, floods, fires, and parents who abandoned them in the forest. As I grew older, I noticed that when I told stories, students stopped what they were doing and calmed down, adults listened attentively. I told world stories that featured brave heroines, murderous queens and incestuous kings.
I discovered that telling stories helped create a kind of community no matter the ages of the listeners and this helped people feel connected to one another and to me. I later realized that what was happening in my life found its way into the stories I was telling. When my son was in the hospital, not knowing if he would live or die, I told Cinderella, focusing on the hardships she suffered, her disbelief in fairy godmothers, her depression—the bleakness of her life. A few weeks later, when my son was out of the hospital, I easily focused on how quickly Cinderella responded to her fairy godmother, the wonderful ways in which her life changed. Both times I told the same story, but how I was feeling personally worked its way into my storytelling.
Stories matter—all stories, whether they’re world tales or personal stories. Stories are how I make sense of the world and help to create the person I am.
Life tales from a woman different living in The City Different.