This lively, engaging discussion about themes in my book Walking on Pins and Needles continues to resonate with me. It’s so evident that our lives are filled with stories that often include common themes when we reveal our story to others.
Here we are on a July 2022 afternoon, gathered in West Des Moines, Iowa, in a lovely living room. Most women did not know each other and we had an age range from 30’s to 80’s. What a great group! As I talked about my story, from my recently published memoir, I saw heads nodding up and down. We were connecting on a number of issues.
Facing barriers seemed to be a subject that resonated with everybody — “my doctor doesn’t believe me”; “I know I’m not making up the pain I’m feeling”; “what to do when no medication seems to work or the mounting side effects are worse than the condition they’re supposed to treat” “I can’t say anything at work because my skills and competency will be questioned.;” Being open about the barriers I faced helped others do the same and not feel alone. That is a big deal, not feeling alone.
Another of my themes was to keep going. Fear can keep us from trying something new, out of our comfort zone. And yet, we need to face our fears, do our homework and take a step forward, even when uncomfortable. What I learned through my experience is that we often fear what we don’t know. It holds us back. Think about this — the unknown, where we might go with trepidation is where the possibilities are. I had no idea what I was getting myself into with a practitioner of Chinese medicine, with Tai Chi. I jumped into the arena anyway. It changed my life. I could never have imagined that I could be healthy as I am today, because I didn’t know the possibilities. I jumped and the possibilities found me. There’s not a void in that unknown we no nothing about; there may be lots of options, possibilities, steps that might be taken to improve our lives.
Storytelling is important, not just for others to hear our story but to share common themes and experiences that we go through as human beings. Talking to each other face to face brings a special energy of connection and being in the moment. Hopefully, you will take some time to share your own story, with family, with friends, with a group gathered to share common experiences that help them know they are not alone and to inspire all of us to seek new possibilities that may be unknown to us right now.