Image Description: A ballpoint pen lying on a piece of paper. Public domain image.
“And therefore, every possibility of a person putting words to something, especially something that’s been difficult, is in itself a sacrament.” – Pádraig Ó Tuama
Years ago, while experiencing some conflicts, I sat down with a pen and a piece of paper. I thought it would be a good exercise to journal in a stream of consciousness. As I sat there, I wrote down whatever came to me in the moment. Then one question jumped off the page and suddenly caught my attention:
“What if they’re write?”
In a moment of self-doubt, I meant to say, “What if they’re right?” But that’s not what I had written on the page.
“What if they’re write?” I asked myself.
This was a big aha moment for me. I realized I had been grappling with a fear that I wasn’t going to be able to use my voice and words to craft my own story, but that instead, others would do that for me. I was so afraid of being silenced.
Of course, in life, there are times when we are indeed silenced. In such experiences, it is important to be gentle with ourselves (it’s okay to give time) and then we can begin to empower our voices in a way that feels right (write) to us. We need the right (write) people and the right (write) moments to let our voices speak truth and meaning.
When we are able to make meaning of our stories — large and small stories, alike — we are able to cultivate narratives that open possibilities for ourselves and create space for others too. I know this to be true: When we make meaning, we heal — in the passive sense (we receive; though is that passive?) and in the active sense (we actively live as healers).
So is there a story you need to tell? Or write down? Or re-imagine?
Maybe you can start small. One step at a time. Or maybe this is finally the time to launch a big narrative in the world. Whatever is best, may you be supported and empowered. You are deserving of such support and empowerment. Your voice matters.
“Don’t let the terrible narrative be the thing that holds you. There is the possibility that you can be the site of generosity from which you, and also your own, can benefit. You can be the place from which goodness and generosity can come — that is, the person who has held in their body the most hostility might be the possibility of the place of hospitality also. And that is a story worth telling.” – Pádraig Ó Tuama