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.