Some stories are not mine to tell.

Some Stories Are Not Mine To Tell

Some stories are not mine to tell.
Birds at the shore.

I’ve been away from the blog for a while. I’ve been struggling with what to write about. Over the past week I’ve been on a journey both literally and figuratively (we drove to California and back over the course of 10.5 days). My life and “my story” have become entwined with the lives and stories of other people. There has been good news, illness, sadness, worry, and laughter. There has been accidental discoveries and diagnosis and even dogs involved. I am bursting with the endless possibilities of stories to be written, but some stories are not mine to tell. So, like that old saying goes, there is a giant elephant in the room and it is blocking the door. In this case that giant elephant is in my brain, rummaging around and bouncing off my thoughts like an uninvited guest with something big to hide. Something as big as an elephant. There are secrets to keep and privacy to respect and people who have incredible, life changing events taking place. Yes, I am a part of those events, but I am not at liberty to write about them. Not really.  I am not the star of these shows. I am merely playing a supportive role. I am like a backup singer to the backup singer.

Unfortunately, my preoccupation with the stories, and life journeys, of other people has left me sort of lost and empty when it comes to writing stories of my own. I have had a serious case of writers block. As a mom, wife, daughter, sister…there are many times when I find myself as a co-star in another individual’s drama, comedy, and some may even argue science fiction journey and I struggle with where to draw the line between two people or between two stories. I ask myself, where does my story end and another person’s story begin? Who has earned the right to tell this story? If I tell this story will it cause another person harm? Sadness? Guilt? Anger? Joy? As a blogger my urge is to spew all of my thoughts and feelings onto the page. I am ready to unload it all because writing gives me clarity and feedback makes me feel less alone. As a human, I have to remember that many people don’t want their stories told/exposed/embellished/dissected on the Internet. Some people don’t want their stories told at all.

What do you write about when you can’t write about your life? What do you write about when your life and your “story” is just a small moment in another persons LIFE story? What do you do when your experience is so small in comparison to another persons experience?

I’ll tell you what I did, I became silent. I debated with Jim. I took notes. I discovered the moments that were mine to write about. I unwrapped my own foibles and follies and joys and heart-break. I dove into the mundane to find the small jewels hidden beneath the stories of other people. Eventually I found my voice again. It all started with the acknowledgement that some stories are not mine to tell. So, I won’t write them. I will put them aside. I will shove the elephant into a corner and put a party hat on it. Then I will slip out the door and unlock the block in my mind.

Instead of telling these stories that belong to other people I’ll write about how California and my hair hate each other, how Tiny-Small is not impressed by the beach and how Jim made me listen to a Jack Johnson CD for 14 hours straight. I’ll tell you about how I packed three bags of markers, colored pencils, and sketch books into my car and didn’t draw a single thing for over ten days. I’ll tell you about the five ways I learned how to add more fiber to my diet (yep, fiber matters) and I’ll even tell you about how one of my childhood dreams came true. I can tell my little stories and leave space for other people to tell their big stories because some stories are not mine to tell. Some stories belong to other people.  Luckily, in the middle of worrying about how to navigate through blogging about my life without harming others, I realized that there is always something to write about because, even with an elephant in the room, I still have a voice and I still have eyes and experiences and things to share. I still have my own stories, even if they are small and quiet, even if they have to squeeze past an elephant to be told.


17 thoughts on “Some Stories Are Not Mine To Tell”

  1. Part of me wants to say “tell the stories, write them out of yourself but don’t publish (yet)” but the part of me that is in charge does exactly what you did and becomes silent. And then gets blocked.
    I would also say don’t underestimate how much value there is in the co-star role and in telling the story, seeing the bigger picture, from there.
    I wish you luck in coping with all you’ve been through in the last few weeks. Take care of yourselves ( and 100% agree about the fibre…)

    1. This is good advice. I am writing some in my private journal. My mom says one day I might need it. Also, just getting it out can help remove the block. It can be hard to focus on something else sometimes.

  2. It’s hard sometimes to know what to write, especially when someone else’s story has such a huge impact on me. In the end, it depends on the story and the impact. We bloggers need to know when to keep our traps shut.
    I’m glad you were able to find your voice again. Can’t wait to hear about the mutual eating of your hair and California. 🙂

  3. I LOVE this! I’ve so often found myself in stories that aren’t mine and I generally go silent because I don’t know how to do anything else. I love how you are finding your stories among the bigger one’s that aren’t yours.

    1. Sometimes I learn a lot about myself during these periods of silence. I guess they have their purpose too. Sometimes I really struggle to find ways to express my feelings and tell my stories without causing any harm to others.

  4. beautifully written. I struggle with this very thing. What do I have permission to write, what should I keep to myself, and what do I want published? Then I find I can’t write because I’m stuck.
    You have said it perfectly.

    1. Bloggers really walk a tight rope sometimes. It’s difficult to answer these questions sometimes. I really don’t like feeling stuck, but sometimes I have to sit with it for a while until I figure a way out of it. It’s nice to know I am not the only one who experiences this!

  5. LOVED this! Anyone who blogs and writes from deep within themselves ends up facing this issue. Better to air on the side of respecting the feelings of others, but do remember that you ALWAYS have the right to write about how you feel. Readers don’t need all the particular details to empathize.

  6. I thought you were a bit quiet lately. Sorry I’m late to this post as I’ve been busy too. Remember that blog I wanted to start a while back? I didn’t do much with it because every story I wanted to tell involved everyone I’m currently entangled with and I didn’t feel it was fair to tell the world about parts of their life. It’s such a responsibility to keep others’ secrets safe. I have much respect for you and other bloggers that have taken on the difficult job of writing personal stories without divulging every aspect of families’ and friends lives. I’m glad you’re back.

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