Who Owns Your Story?

Who tells your tale?

This reflection came about as I read a Facebook essay from an aboriginal person. He’d lived in a coastal WA town and experienced the troubles with local police that seems to have been their lot in the 60’s.

He was candid about what happened and how he coped – and what others did to help him at the time.

At the end of the essay he told the readers not to beat themselves up with guilt over it – the readers now are not the people who he had troubles with then. And then he wrote the most interesting thing; the story of his life was his to tell…no-one else’s. He lived it and he could be truthful and accurate about it.

That is a powerful message for me – and it echoes back into my own past. Not the police trouble…the business of telling only your own story. I have been guilty of doing just the opposite – I spent a fair number of years pretending to depict other people, and in some cases fooling myself that I was something I was not.

It was the re-enacting years – the uniform/costume/event time. Late 80’s to 2015. Any number of self-funded theatrical parts on stages that were largely unobserved. Hearing an internal dialog and sometimes speaking it out. Fortunately, not in an assumed accent…

Don’t think this a complaint – the whole process did me a power of good – particularly when I passed through crises of life and needed support. There are plenty of people who also do re-enacting and who proved to be good friends. I treasure some of those friendships still, and work to keep them alive.

But the basic pretence stopped me from seeing myself as I really am. Now that I have doffed the clothes and disposed of the arms I can return to being as ” authentic “* as I will ever be. It doesn’t mean I will stop spending money or making a fool of myself ( and that can be done remarkably cheaply…) but I can now do it in my own style rather than that dictated by pretence.

As far as telling my story…well, you’re reading it. None of it will be 100% true nor 100% false. No more will yours be. But I need no-one else to depict me now.

*  I am not entirely sure what authentic is in a personal context. But it probably stays up late and drinks coffee.

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