What is the Story of You?

Can you remember who you were before the world told you who you should be?
— Charles Bukowski

I’ve been thinking about passion, inspiration, talent, and success lately. Since early adulthood, I’ve been told how much potential I have. Growing up, my family had few expectations of me, other than, “Don’t be ugly, Boo” (meaning, you need to act like a nice girl). I got the message that my best avenue for success would be to get married and let a man take care of me. I was told I was a follower, not a leader. I believed it.

I had headaches from the time I was six so my parents didn’t want to pressure me, thinking that expectations would make them worse. Apparently, I had quite a talent for the piano but my parents let me quit after only a couple of years, fearing that it would consume me because I was so gifted (Consume me? What does that even mean??). At the same time, they believed I was slow because I didn’t speak early enough and because I didn’t excel in school. Again, they didn’t want to pressure me.

Did my parents believe all that? Did they really give me all those messages? I doubt it, but, I created a story from their words and actions, nonetheless, and I lived as if it were true. I was gifted musically and athletically but slow intellectually, or so the story goes. They couldn’t encourage my talent too much because it might consume me or might make my headaches worse. They couldn’t expect much intellectually because I was slow and what’s the point? So, I floated along, buying into and keeping alive those stories. I fed them. I went to therapy. I nursed them. I used them as an excuse (innocently) for not mastering much of anything. I got by.

Over the years, I had some success here and there but I kept alive the story that I was slow and that I should avoid things requiring more than a little effort. After all, I wouldn’t want to make myself sick, or consume myself, or make a fool of myself.

I bought the story. I fed the story. I lived the story.

Here’s the thing, it never was anything but a story. A story I took seriously. A story I analyzed for years. A story I judged and agonized over. You see, I didn’t know it was a story. I thought I was those things. I innocently identified with the story and I lived accordingly. I suffered this made up story for decades.

Knowing that it is a story helps my grip loosen. It means that I no longer have to take it so seriously and personally. I no longer have to believe it. I no longer have to act on it. When it rears its ugly head, and it does, I can ignore it and carry on with my day. I can wake up to it and show the story out the door. I may even be able to master a few things.

I want you to know that whatever story you have about you is just a story. Family, friends, religion, and culture do not define you, though you’ve received many messages and stories from them. Some of those messages have been positive and some have been negative. None define you. You are not your story. When we wake up to the truth of that, we are free to get on with it from a place of clarity. We are free to create our lives.


If this blog post resonates with you or if you’d like to explore a new perspective on who you are really and why it matters, I’m opening up a couple of times on my calendar this week for the first two people who respond, at no charge to you. Contact Me