My most common answer to questions of "How have you been?", "what's new?", "what have you been up to?" and similar lately have devolved in to a series of run of the mill answers (Great, fine, not much, same shit - different day) and then a quick deflect on to other things - Orion ran up to the computer the other day while I was watching a video of a baby goat and bellowed "OAT!" so loudly that I almost dropped the laptop. He's never said goat before. (true story).
When I gather with friends, or sit down to journal or blog, or pick up the phone when a friend calls, I usually take the conversational back seat. I'll chime in, surely, but I don't really share my own stories. Not fully.
Because my own stories aren't filled with worldly insight, exploration, and adventure. They're filled with the day to day, the little things, the internal shifting of change and growth and they can feel so, so small amidst the exciting tales of jet setting and the venting about the quirks of one's boss.
And, often times, I too, feel small in a gathering or in a conversation. Even with my peers, I feel less adulty, less like my opinion and voice counts because what do I know, anyway?
This all came to me during my journalings for Soulodge with Wolf, which I'm taking right now. And, in the serendipitous way of the Universe, came in to light the day of the new moon and was broached by my therapist during our most recent session. And in talking it out, writing it out, and creating a heart map I had a few epiphanies.
What if the big stories really aren't the ones that matter the most? Sure, they're fun to listen to, and even more fun to have, but are they a sustainable way of life for me? Are they what I should compare and aspire to, rather than being content with what is? I don't think so.
Most of us spend our day to day in the trenches of repeaty things - clean, cook, clean again, cook again, wash clothes, fold clothes, wear clothes, repeat. Some of us get the added joy of balancing those repeaty things with children, pets, spouses, family, friends, work, and hobbies. And, I do mean joy, that's not sarcasm.
What if the stories I keep thinking are small, are really the meat of life? Those joys and failures that make up each fleeting, passing day?
What would happen if I shifted my perspective and treated my personal stories - the good the bad, the ordinary, the incredible - all as sacred? How could that change the way that I approach the repeaty things and the seasons of life?
What if, instead of saying nothing, I were to share my stories and see if they set out new shoots of connection and communication among my communities? What would the harm be in saying, you know - I'm taking this really great online course. I started a year long traveling art journal group. I'm learning to be a better listener. I'm healing old wounds. I made this kick ass fiesta chicken the other night, read this fantastic book, had a rough couple of days, etc.
I think, for me, the path to really healing the things that have held me back for most of my life - the anxiety, insecurity, the feeling of smallness - starts with dropping my armor and truly being vulnerable. It starts with no longer brushing my stories aside or boxing them up, and instead sharing them honestly and with no expectation for reaction. To give the ordinary the same weight as the extraordinary. To give voice to my thoughts and opinions and let whatever happens, happen.
On the other side of vulnerability lies true freedom. And there's nothing small about that.
P.S. I changed the blog name. It felt suiting to do it today.