The Stories They Wrote

No. 8 #ShePersisted Series
The Stories They Wrote
by Louise Gallagher

He wasn’t born
a criminal
though his mother said
on the day he was born
that he would grow up to be
a bad one
it was written in his stars.

She wasn’t born
drug addicted
though her father said
on the day she took her first step
that she would go nowhere
but bad
it was written in her blood.

And when he grew up
he lived true to his mother’s predictions
until he found himself in that place
where time was all you got
and he had no choice but to dig
for a way out
from beneath the layers
of a story
his mother wrote for him
on the day he was born.

And when she entered treatment
for the first time
she had to go back
again and again
to erase the scars
she’d etched into her skin
searching for the beginning
of the story her father had written
when she’d taken her first step.

And they both kept digging
and they both kept searching
and re-writing and re-wiring
the stories
they told themselves they had no choice
but to live
until to live the story of their own creation
they had no choice
but to walk away
from the stories they’d always known
but never wanted
the stories no one should have written
on the day they were born.

We all have stories. Stories we tell on ourselves, stories our family tell about us, stories we’d rather forget but can’t seem to keep ourselves from living again and again.

We all have stories.

And here’s the thing about our stories. They are personal to us. They are our experience. Two people can have a similar experience; one is traumatized and the other doesn’t give it any more thought.

Our responses are personal. They are a combination of our emotional make-up, history, experiences, environment, childhood…

In my family, there was a story of my birth that left me feeling unwanted and a disappointment. As I got older, my family quit telling that story. I didn’t. Until one day I decided, enough is enough. And I changed the story to something that celebrates my life and my being here on this earth.

The fact remains though, that until I made that choice, everything about me was shadowed by my internalized belief that I was unwanted and a disappointment.

Unravelling the feelings that story evoked and its limiting beliefs was critical to my freeing myself to live my life, my way, in joy, gratitude and Love.

Working at a homeless shelter, everyday I encountered people whose lives were a daily repetition of stories they didn’t want to live but didn’t have the knowledge nor resources to change.

This morning, as I was reading the news, the story of a young man I’d encountered at the shelter popped into my mind. When he was born, his mother had said he would be good for nothing.

At 26, he had been in and out of jail numerous times. This time, he was determined to stay out.

To do that, he had to learn tools that would help him in walking away from the story he’d been living out of his mother’s predictions.

He wasn’t born criminal. He was made that way by his environment, lack of nurturing, lack of good role models and a limiting belief that he would be good for nothing.

We all have stories. We all have limiting beliefs.

To live our own stories, we must set ourselves free of our limiting beliefs so we can write a story that celebrates the magnificent nature of our human condition.

Do you have a limiting belief that is holding you back from living life as the star you are meant to be? Are you willing to set yourself free to shine?

9 thoughts on “The Stories They Wrote

  1. Your words are deep, drilling down into the nether reaches of one’s subconscious. Yet there are slivers of hope wending their way upwards towards the light. A sign, a word of encouragement, finding that inner strength, is all some need to turn away from a downward journey that may not be their own doing. So many have proven, and will continue to prove it can be done.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You touched more than just a nerve, Louise.
    My brother & sis in law have adopted two children from the Asian region. Both had received, with the gift of adoption, the very best and most dedicated and hopeful parents any child could wish for. And yet – they didn’t develop as everybody was hoping for, all the care, attention, love, dedication, help and understanding couldn’t ‘save’ them. They both fell, over the years, into traps their (new) parents didn’t even know they existed. Both are now in the permanent ‘care’ of the state, the parents heartbroken, disillusioned, poorer and feeling as failures. When I was younger, I was an ardent defender of adoption and now, having seen and lived through these experiences with this family, I wouldn’t be able to vouch for this. Thus many a needy child might not be ‘saved’ and find a loving home, because in the end, it’s not the ‘stories’ with a wonderful ending but those of failures and ache are resting in people’s minds.
    And yet, and yet – I’d never NOT consider helping any of those children, youngsters, or teens – because hope dies last. Even at the price that the adoptive father nearly killed himself such was his distress over ‘his and society’s failure’, we must NOT give in or give up. How my sis in law is keeping both her now adult children in her heart is a daily lesson to me to be more generous and more loving.

    Liked by 1 person

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