Updated: Apr 12
Five Reasons Why Your Story Matters
When I first toyed with the idea of publishing Tainted Lionheart, I found myself in a constant reel over whether or not I should put something so personal out into the world. Initially, these were just poems I wrote during a time when it was the only thing I could think to do to help heal myself from what I was going through. It was the only time in my life I had truly dug deep into the pits of myself without confiding in another person.
The words I spent Spring into Summer of 2019 writing in my potted garden in my driveway were raw, and real, and vulnerable to so many people I feared would judge my situation once they read my words. It wasn’t the critique on my use of poetic device, or the notion that my work would not hold a candle to those who have established an audience of people for their writing.
I used to fear those things. The Universe knows I have spent countless years convincing myself I’d never be a writer. But after one poem turned to hundreds and I had created work I couldn’t be prouder of; those doubts slowly slipped away. Once the manuscript was written, it was no longer about the self-deprecating mindset that told me I wasn’t good enough. It was the consequences I thought I’d faced once everyone knew the truth of my story.
In retrospect, there are no consequences to be had for my being honest about where I was at that point in my life. Those perceptions I held that told me I’d have shame to carry or embarrassment to bear was more about the reflection I had of myself than it was other people.
We live in a society that has us conditioned to believe that the things that are not pleasant and appealing should be hidden- especially for women. I thought for so long that my only job after the wreckage of my circumstance was to sweep. Sweep it right under the rug where only I knew it lay dormant.
But that’s not quite how it’s supposed to work. And it wasn’t until I sat in assessment of myself that I realized talking about what happened- shame and embarrassment free- was exactly what I needed to do to break the stigma that told me we do not share the darker parts of ourselves with other people. It became a responsibility- both as a woman, and for other women- to squash the rules on talking about the shit that makes people uncomfortable. Screw that, I say!
And that’s what I did. I published my story, and I was open about my situation, and it was the most liberating thing I have ever done. If you’re anything like I was a few years ago, you know you have the desire for storytelling. You know that you have a voice that could be valid and substantial to others like you. But you are afraid of the repercussions. Or maybe you’re not sure if you’re ready. Maybe you still are stuck in the headspace of thinking your skill is not adequate.
That’s why I made a list of the five reasons why you should share your story; in whatever medium you see fit. Whether an artist, musician, writer, or glassblower for all I care! There is power in sharing your story with others through the outlets that drive you. And here’s why I think that is so.
1. It’s your God damn right to do it.
Who the heck made the instructional manual for what can be spoken about and what needs to be kept under wraps? Whoever that person is must have been a real sissy to their own emotional energy. We aren’t meant to live our lives based on how others would consider them, but how we would. Which means, if we feel we have something viable to say, we have every right to say it. Those who place judgment on that should be much more concerned with why they feel the need to do so, more than you need to be worried about why they do. Though I’d suggest practicing the age-old concept of thinking before speaking, just simply knowing you have the right to say what’s on your mind is enough to get you started.
2. You set yourself free.
I hadn’t realized the weight that would be lifted from my shoulders the moment Tainted Lionheart was available to be in readers hands. For months I had been the host of overwhelming emotion and feeling with regard to allowing others into my world through storytelling. But the moment I did, I grew wings. No, really, I did. I’m still soaring, as a matter of fact. Writing this four months later from the clouds that have got me floating in my freedom and refusal to hide who I am. Liberation through discharging my shame and embracing my dignity. I wrote it. I released it. I was free from it.
3. You learn from yourself when you share with others.
Though I do not believe we should base the foundation for who we are on how other people see us, I do think there is much to be learned from expressing yourself to other people. When we seek to share, we evaluate our thoughts differently so that they may be best construed to others with a sense of clarity. In doing this, we find ourselves seeing our own situation from a new lens. It gives us a chance to be on the outside looking in, as we invite others to learn about us. When we find ways to convey our story to others, we are really learning more about who we are through how we choose to portray our stories with grace and honesty.
4. You can help other people.
If I could choose the most rewarding part about writing Tainted Lionheart and publishing it, it’s the women who have reached out to me saying they resonated with my words in a way that was beneficial to them. I knew I had a story that was valid, but I hadn’t realized just how many women there were like me. I received numerous messages from women who said that I should be proud of the courage it took to be so open, and that through my words they were able to understand their own situations a bit better. To know that people read my poems and found healing in them with me, was the most incredible part of the process.
5. It sets the tone for others to do the same.
I knew that I wanted the purpose of publishing to be my way of showing people that there is no mortification to be felt in speaking on the things that make us feel a bit uneasy at times. I knew I wanted it to be a steppingstone for others like me to say, “To hell with what you think is socially acceptable! This is my truth!” When we are open about things, it sends an encouraging vibe for others to be open with you. You have the power to direct where your story goes. Use that power wisely, and watch others follow suit.
I just want to add that this is not me trying to tell everyone to go out there and lay their dirty laundry out for the world to see. Though hey, if that’s what makes you feel good, so be it. It’s also not me putting pressure on anyone who has gone through tough times to feel the need to share it with anyone if they don’t want to.
But this is for the people who may fear there will never be an affirmation attached to the things they’ve gone through. This is for the people who want so badly to grow through what they’ve gone through but don’t quite know what their next step is. It’s for the women who have been told they are the ones that are meant to carry indignity on their backs that belongs to someone else! For those who have been told that what they have to say didn’t matter. Because it does.
Channel your art in a way that gives it a purpose beyond your own therapy. Project it in a way that sends a message to those you choose to share it with. What would you want the world to feel when they see your outlet of expression? What do you want them to learn? But above all, how does it validate and affirm YOU?
There’s a poem in my book that says:
you don’t need to know where you’re going
you just need to let the going take you
So, give it a shot. You may not know where you will end up with it, but at least you know you’ll be going somewhere more freeing than where you were before. Why not be a support for changing the narrative? You probably have less to lose than you fear.
And if you're looking for a place to start, all month long Our Galaxy is celebrating National Poetry Month with our first Writing Prompt. Use it for your poetry, or any other form of art you enjoy, and show us your pieces by tagging @OurGalaxyCo and using the hashtag #IAmAWomanWhoKnows so that we can find you. We'll be sharing pieces all month, and will be choosing our favorite at the end! Find out more about it here.
You can find out more about Tainted Lionheart here.