Monday, 7 March 2016

Controlling your narrative

A large part of my Embrace Your Past resolution is about coming to terms with my own story. For me, that means being able to tell my own story in my own words.

'Building Blocks for Strengthening Your Life'
Richard Flint asks a series of questions in his book, 'Building Blocks for Strengthening Your Life' about controlling your narrative.
- Do you blame others for the struggle you have in your life?
- Have you given others the right to make decisions for you?

Blogging is probably one of the best forms of self expression. That's how I view my blog posts anyway; as extensions of me. It's probably the first time I've felt in control of my own story.

You see, I have a history of letting others define me.

It can be as simple as letting others talk over you. I've been very guilty of that over the years. I am the quiet voice in the background that people miss, asked to repeat my point or whether I said something.
Sometimes the labels others give you can stick; emo, ugly, crazy, bitch, slut.
Sometimes you let other people's opinions define you; through bitching, gossiping and rumours.

My story wasn't always mine. I relied on the opinions of others and determined my own worth based on their assumptions. If I felt liked and respected by my peers, I liked and respected myself.

On top of this, I have often found myself physically unable to speak or say words. There have been many times over the years where words would not come out, and instead they were replaced by a tightness in my chest. My breathing would become strained. I would feel panicked. I would be asked a question, normally a personal one about my moods and even though I knew the answer and I knew what I should say, I physically wasn't able to say it.

But my blog has been my opportunity to speak up and out. I am telling my story and being honest with myself for once.

It's not about sharing everything or righting what I feel have been the wrongs done to me. That is not my story.

It's constructively looking at my narrative as MINE rather than appropriating blame onto others.

In blogging, as with all writing, there's a phrase called the 'authentic voice'. I love that phrase. It's about being true to yourself, and being the best version of you that you can be. For bloggers, it can mean honesty, integrity, expertise, originality, uniqueness. Blogging has shown me my 'authentic voice'. It's helped me to understand my whole story, my whole mental health journey, and it has allowed me to learn from it. I speak most in my 'authentic voice' when I'm writing about me; my experience is my expertise.

I think that when we tell our story, share what we feel we are compelled to, we are speaking with an authentic voice.

And when it comes to Embracing My Past, authenticity matters. I want to speak about my past in a way that accurately reflects what I've been through, what I've experienced and where I am now. Coming to terms with and accepting my narrative is a process. And one that I hope will contribute towards my overall wellbeing.

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