In the spring of my first real heartbreak, I found poetry.
I was 17 years old, and my 11th grade English teacher assigned a poetry project. We were to write a book filled with different types of poetry.
Up to this point, I’d only written privately in the journals I’d accumulated over the years. Never did I ever share my thoughts, fears, dreams, and pain for others to read. So, it surprised me when it all poured out of me like honey onto the pages of my poetry project.
An awareness someone would read what I was writing disappeared, and it was me, the pen, and the paper. I was honest, raw, emotional, angry, authentic. I’d never been able to express myself in words the way I did in writing, and in the middle of pain, I found joy.
I loved that poetry book. I filled it with pictures of my ex-boyfriend and me, and it felt like mine, something I was proud of. I don’t remember my teacher telling me it was any good, but I do remember feeling like he took more of an interest in my life after reading it, and I took note of that. I wondered if it was because he connected to the honesty in my writings.
Right before I got married, I threw the poetry book in the dumpster behind my parents Keller Williams office.
I still grieve that book. It was my first encounter with finding my voice and having the courage to share it with others. It was the beginning of the lifelong journey I’ve been on ever since, believing I have a story to tell and being brave enough to say to it.
We all have stories we are longing to share because deep down, we know what we’ve gone through is important and by sharing our stories, we might help someone. The tricky part is the mindset.
We’ll tell ourselves our story isn’t that unique, or we didn’t go through something as earth-shattering as so-and-so, so we don’t have anything of value to share.
Those are lies that keep us silent.
Our stories are our stories, and no one has ever or will ever walk a day in our shoes. That means our stories are unique and have never been done before in the exact way they happened to us.
Someone somewhere will connect with your story. You don’t have to be like so-and-so; you have to be you, so write what you know because only you know it. Your job is to be real, honest, authentic, and start with your personal experience.
My path was small and safe over a long period of time. I started writing in journals when I was 7, completed a poetry project when I was 17, submitted an article for a contest when I was 18, started a blog in my mid-twenties, co-wrote a book when I turned 30, and then started speaking on a stage.
For me, taking tiny steps over time gave me the courage to take my storytelling to the next level. That has been my journey to telling my story, and you will have your unique path in how you get there.
For me, the best part of sharing is what I hope to give and what I learn. When we find the courage to share our stories, we become transformed in the process of sharing them, connecting with others and with ourselves.
We grow, and I think growing is the best part of being human. So, I encourage you to start telling your stories. Start where you are and do it! I believe in you. Love and Blessings.
PS Special thanks to Taylor Lord and fotolanthropy for the photo!