I love stories and recognize their importance. I find solace, comfort and hope in them. I believe that all our stories matter and they are worth sharing. We do ourselves a great injustice when we don’t see the significance of our stories. The failure to see their importance means that they aren’t shared, they aren’t honored, and we compare our stories with those of others. We let another person’s story stifle us from sharing ours because we feel that theirs is more powerful, significant, more important than ours.
Your story matters and their is no competition in our collective stories. My story of abuse and abandonment is no more significant than the story of the woman who struggles with weight issues or that of the woman who secretly cuts herself. Our stories reflect the diversity of our challenges, struggles, conflicts.
Each time I share on the power of story in a workshop or speak on story at an event, I have at least one woman come to me after to say that there is a story in her that bears telling, but she feels that it’s not very profound or will not matter greatly. It could be her struggle with conceiving after ten years of marriage or how she only found self esteem in her fifties. And my reply is always the same – your story matters, if only to you. Don’t underestimate the power of sharing it. It can help you gain perspective or it can empower and encourage another. Don’t hide it. Journal it, share it with others who’ve earned the right to hear it.
I’m a sucker for story and I love how HONY humanizes us and allows us to tell our stories and show that they matter. The response to individuals from around the world sharing something deeply personal, mundane, funny, poignant, has tremendous impact on other readers. Reading someone’s story from Pakistan makes me see that we are all the same and reading the widower share how he misses his late wife and the rituals they shared makes me realize the power of relationships. Their is power in story. And each time I read someone’s story, I feel connected to them, I root for them, I cry, share, laugh and hope for them.
Because that is what stories do. They stir something in us at an emotional level. They help us connect and understand the experience of ourselves and others. They humanize us and make us relatable, easier to understand. Stories of how overcoming abuse and abandonment to create a platform to empower other women, stories of a woman overcoming a failed marriage and going on to build a writing empire. We appreciate and identify with these and similar stories.
Each story matters. Don’t be afraid to share yours.
Carlana Charles is the visionary and editor-in-chief of FemmePowered. She is a womanist, writer, speaker, story midwife and facilitator of meaningful and engaging conversations. When she is not working in or on FemmePowered, she can be found resting, baking, reading or scribbling furiously in her journal whilst sipping wine or coffee, sometimes both at the same time. She is currently working on her first book and hopes to release it in September 2018.