Sundays are for stories

“The way you tell your story to yourself matters.” Amy Cuddy

This quote struck me this morning, for a number of reasons two of which include my sister Annmarie and my friend Karin. Both of these women are two fantastic cheerleaders, who also know when to kick me in the ass when I am telling myself falsehoods. In relationship to my story, they are my editors, proofreaders, and more. They hold these executive roles because they know me. And they know when I distort my own story. They know when I am not living in the truth. And they know when I need to rescue me from myself.

This morning, today, Sunday, my friend Karin and I went to breakfast. We had stories to share. Cuddy’s quote rang true because last night she was a fortune teller. Karin dressed the part for a friend’s murder mystery-themed dinner. A man asked her to read his palm. She did. When she returned to her seat at the table, the man next to her, was so impressed with the story she wove for the other man, that he asked if she could read his palm just like that.

Why? Because she’s beautiful and funny? Yes, of course. And because he wants her to share a story with him. All of us want to share a good story.  We crave a story that brings us good fortune. How many times have we gathered around our table on Sundays for family dinners and shared countless tales and stories? In fact, we made stories from those dinners, too. The stories told there became new stories. It’s this extraordinary thing of being human that allows us access to millions of words, through which we can weave extraordinary, personal, and connecting stories. How exceptional are we? With those words, and through those words, we crave companionship and love. We all want and need to be part of a story, and yet, many of us, especially in the world of singles and career transitions, we can’t even write the preface to our own story.

Why is that? Because we are afraid to write it. Afraid to be vulnerable again, and to possibly be open to rejection, again. It’s a worn out tawdry paperback, even Goodwill won’t accept. It’s spent and we are, too. And we start to envision a story alone. And for the lovers, the dreamers, and the givers, alone is a penance for a sin, the nature of which we don’t recall committing.

Which brings me to my story last week and Annmarie, Karin, and also Bridget (who yes is my daughter, whose role is important, but it’s also important to represent that she represents my sister Jennine – because I am constantly calling her Geeg). So back to Cuddy’s quote this morning:

 “The way you tell your story to yourself matters.” Amy Cuddy

On Wednesday, I wrote a letter about me, about my story, what it was, is, and what I want it to become. I outlined the characters in this story, who and how I wanted to support the cast, I delineated my qualifications, and I expressed my gratitude for the time and consideration. I know now, after living through the rest of the week, and through the conversations and love of these two women and one young lady, that I didn’t just write a letter about a job. I was writing a letter, and wove a tale to the sender, about how he and his cast fit into my life. It was a compelling a story about why they need me.

Later that day when I spoke with my sister I cried when I told her that I wrote that letter. Every time I send one off, I open myself up to failure, I told her. She tamped that voice down right away. “Oh my God Karen,” she said. “What did you write for 90 days? What have you been telling yourself? That you need to live in your truth. You did it. I am so proud of you. And who cares what happens. Because you did it. You were true to yourself and you own your story.” I wiped up the tears because Bridget was nearing. I tamped down all the failure voices until later that evening when I spoke with Karin, who like my sister Annmarie, emphasized her pride and my truth, then addressed failure as nonsense.

I received a response from the sender on Friday. The first thing I did was forward it to Annmarie, who quickly replied something like “you have to tell the world what you want so you can receive it”. The second thing I did was asked Bridget to take a walk. Upon which I told her my story of the letter, why she saw tears in my eyes when she returned home from school Wednesday, and how I received a response. Bridget said, “Mom that’s awesome. You asked for what you wanted. I am so proud of you.” And later that evening I talked to Karin and I told her both stories, the response and my walk with Bridget. Her pride was steadfast, and she was elated that I shared it with Bridget, and was heartened by Bridget’s response.

Without really knowing it, on Wednesday I wrote the preface. And no sooner did I send it, then every action started to become a chapter in my story. This is my story now post 90 consecutive days of writing, a time when I told the world what I wanted. Now I have to continue to live in that truth.

I don’t know how the chapters will unfold. As with most things in my life, there will be humor and angst, joy and sorrow, anxiety and excitement, accolades and criticisms. And there will be plenty of voices rooting me on, those belonging to Annmarie and Karin, Geeg channeled through Bridget and more. Living in the present is a really lovely place to be. Ultimately every day is an autobiography, and I want mine to be share-worthy.

Last, Fridays are for stories, too. I saw my friend Marianne who recently published her first novel “Lucy, go see.” When Marianne was working on the book, she was writing a 1,000 words a day, which motivated me to commit to writing for 90 consecutive days.  It’s amazing what wonderful things we can accomplish when we write our own story.


You can find more info about Marianne’s book here.

10 Thoughts

  1. “The way you tell your story matters.” Powerful words indeed.
    Bravo to you, Karen, for telling yours. Vulnerability is power (just ask Brené Brown).
    Oh, and thanks you to, I have broken my promise to myself to NOT buy any more books… sigh…

    Liked by 1 person

      1. There is indeed. It’s why it is so hard to allow ourselves to be vulnerable. Power does not come cheap 😉
        Absolutely! As soon as I get it…

        Liked by 1 person

  2. In your blog, in your words, “afraid to be vulnerable again”, that’s probably what stops everyone from writing and sometimes even from reading . For to be vulnerable again, quite possible might be to be a target again by some invisible perp who hangs around sometimes and nowhere and everywhere. Interesting blog there. Glad I got to read most of it. koko

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.