I was listening to a book in the car on the way home from work this week, and there was a line in the prose where someone described the main character as, “he has a story, he just doesn’t know what it is”. I paused the book to contemplate that line and have been chewing on it ever since.
The character in the book wasn’t young, although I do believe that quote was from a coworker in his earlier days in life. Young or old, the truth of the statement was still holding true. He was moving through life, but he wasn’t living his story.
It got me to thinking about the people I have been meeting or know and about their stories.
There would be a few, I feel, that are living a good life, but waiting for their story to unfold. Like they are only in the prelude to their own storybook and waiting for the actual story to begin.
There are some I know of, that maintain an old story and can’t seem to move on from there. Think of the high school quarterback who felt those were the best days ever and still lives to replay those moments as much as possible. Or those with trauma that can’t move on from the constant reliving of their horrible moments. It always saddens me when we live through millions of hours and minutes, but let a few moments define oneself.
There are those that are limited by the stories they tell themselves – this is likely a truth in varying degrees for many of us. I know that I have that “unworthy” voice who sneaks in at random times for me.
There’s ones that are in a tough chapter of what is happening to them or their family, but it’s a chapter, and not their true story.
If coarse, everyone also sees a different story in people based upon their relationship and interactions with them. I can remember sitting with a friend in the hospital and having her family walk in and immediately seeing my friend change into the person that her family had categorized and logged her as the person they knew in their lives. It was like a box was immediately constructed that she was put into – and she morphed to fit into it. I remember leaving and wishing that her family could see the version that I saw – but then, I didn’t have the same years, events and family dynamics in my version that they did. I guess, she has the same story, but like any really complex book, people read and relate to it differently.
I’ve thought about how I see people living in a state of fear, and know that it is limiting their story – or quite possibly keeping it hidden from them. I haven’t listened to enough of the book to know if that is the case for the character in this novel.
It got me thinking of the people that I have struggled to connect to in life and why. If I thumb through that file, I think that almost universally, I can’t or don’t connect to them because they only ever show one story of themselves or a constant versions of the same story over and over. Or, they don’t share their stories at all.
That is the crux of it right there, I believe. You have to share the story for it to spark the thought, emotion, connection, for someone else to pick it up and hold.
Everyone’s story, is if coarse up for interpretation and is filtered through your experiences, knowledge and connection to the others narrative.
For me? I feel like everyday is a story. Shoot, I hear one line in a book, and I have to stop the book because in my head, that one statement is a story. Is it my story? No, it’s a line, on a page, in a book(which is me) filled with many stories of which many are ongoing and still evolving.
And so, this weeks distraction story would be a prime example of how my senses (ears this time), pick up in one little thing and it pulls at me to stop and mull it over and feel it out and figure out why it caused me pause. Pretty soon, I jot down the ideas and hit send before that other voice in my head says I shouldn’t.
Thanks for being a part of my story.
Side note: books recommended to read from my three interviews this week, 1. Nothing, she hasn’t read in thirty years – Really? Really? I’m afraid to know what my face reaction was (thank goodness I was wearing my mask. 2. “A Yellow Raft in Blue Water” – about three generations of Native American women and their journey through life. 3. “The Secret” – according to number 3, it provides positive ways to look at everything in life.
Until the next post, I hope you hear, see, experience a good story.
1 thought on “Looking at People’s Stories”
Great story! –N.