What’s your story?
When I was young
I was the daughter of graziers – my story, my life – I was a bush child and so proud to be from the land
I grew older
And a wonderful man asked to marry me
I must have said the word “fiancée” one hundred thousand times that year
Then mother – the best one yet!
Then I lost mine and my father six months apart
They were sick
Mum in particular – Alzheimer’s – dreadful
But let’s skip that part
Then I was sober although I never was a drunk
Just temporarily, a seeker of an alleviating state of mind
Something that pressed pause – instead of rewind
And eventually I threw away the deck altogether
And found it a place to nest in amongst all the other stories in my chest
And the narrator became just Kate again because that’s what sober does – it helps you find yourself
I was a slam poet briefly
(Nothing really rhymes with that so we’ll move along)
Because so many other stories spring to mind
As I began to find a fresh joy in being alive
Motor bike rider
Vegan – more plant based perhaps but what’s a diet? I’d been paleo and even keto for awhile before that and before either of those things became popular
And of course stories keep repeating – increasingly as we get older
Enough about me – what about you?
When asked what we do
Where we are from
Who is who and what’s what and what are the connections a person has got
What do you say
Is it faith?
A particular God to whom you pray
What’s your story?
In the main – a whole book or just this chapter
Describe yourself in the one word that matters
What do you think of all these topics –
Do you drag ghosts from the past
Trundle along with a suitcase full of all the harm that has befallen you?
Do you have grudges?
What memories does your mind paint
When you are alone
What comes back to haunt you
Dogging your footsteps?
What do you wish you could leave behind
Where nobody ever finds it
What mistakes do you trip over every time you lift a foot
Things you wish you could just let go of and forget
What makes you happy
Heart rising in your chest
Which people light you up
When you see them
Which ones do you miss?
What’s your story?
And what would you say
If I said
Forget all that
Two hours ago
The moment has flown
Why hold onto it
It’s just a story
But it’s mine! I hear you calling
What if what you’re holding
Is holding you
Like some precious rocks that you found
In your pockets
Turn them inside out
Watch those memories fall to the ground
And walk away
Because this moment is fresh
Take a deep breath
Every day we are remade
Don’t hold onto old stories
We are soon forgotten
Why not forget
Whilst we are still here
To begin again
And create new stories
*Whew yahoo! That came tumbling out – life is a box of chocolates – I’m currently still off sugar but who needs it!!!
Life is so wonderfully bigger
Runners endorphins – off on a giggle in the sunshine – enjoy your day lovely people and whoever you are and whatever you’ve done – proud or dejected
You can choose a different story
I believe I’ve neglected the actually point of where this “story” thing evolved
If you’re still reading…
Thanks – I will attempt to be brief
So running is hard. It hurts. And little parts hurt individually.
And at different times
The ankle starts to whine
A calf muscle
Anyway – this is all going on
And you have a choice
Or start a story about it
Like Oh my God what if my calf muscle tears – what if this chafe turns into deep wounds that scar me for life – what if my legs are so tired that I am actually inflicting permanent damage – is it okay to run 10 km, 25 Km per day – am I mad?
And on and on
And you learn – if you don’t make a story about it – things go away
They just fade and another thing takes its place and that’s fine because you don’t hold onto that either
And eventually the endorphins kick in
And you write a far too wordy WordPress blog post about it
And nobody has time to read it all the way to the bottom
But that doesn’t matter either
Because there is no need to write a story about it for anyone to read it
Nothing is that important – drop it and move on
Seth Godin asks “what’s your top story?” Because whatever you are leading with is what is informing your life right now. His (much shorter post then mine here.
And that can be a huge problem if what is informing your story right now, is some toxic, sad, morose tale that you have been dragging along for years.
Truly – time to drop it.
And this is disconcerting (to my writerly self) and immensely freeing to the little part of me that maintains a massive storage filing system
Nothing matters – how zen!
Header photo – chair – abandoned building in an odd little shack that used to be an overnight inn/pub (I think that is what Dad mentioned it was when we stopped there so I could take photos) for bullock teams on the Cunnamulla Bollon road. The stories this place could tell.
If you’re a sucker for punishment and want to read more here’s a post from January https://athousandbitsofpaper.com/2020/01/24/do-it-like-it-is-part-of-the-dance/
And here are a few more photos of that place as a reminder that …stories have a life and a death and there isn’t need to continue to carry them if they don’t serve you.
26 thoughts on “Browser Refresh”
Thanks for sharing some of your story, Kate. Really enjoyed reading it. I was born in East London, Cockney land, my father was English, my mother Irish. I’ve been married for 48 years have a son and a daughter. Son has one child, daughter has five children, including triplets. Was a fanatical soccer player, played squash and ran 10k every day. I used to run with my daughter every day and then she got into marathon running and talked me into it. The worst thing I ever did as my body couldn’t take it. Developed back problems, had to give up soccer, squash and running, but enjoy walking. I have a very, very bad memory, always have and always will. I worked in an office and had post-it notes all over my desk and computer screen. My wife says “remember when” and I can’t remember a darned thing. This turns out to be a good thing because I never hang on to the past but believe in going forward. I only came to writing two years ago, but have always been avid reader. Just sharing some of my history, Kate. Thanks for sharing yours.
Len it’s so good to know more about you. Do you speak with the cockney accent? I’m sorry that you can’t run and play the sports you used to – I would be devastated if I couldn’t move the way I wanted to. 48 years is a wonderful stretch – we have been married 25 this year and it just keeps getting better. Memory is a funny thing – like stories, what we recall, what others do, about the same event, about every day life, our brains are fascinating.
I’ve lived in Canada for 51 years, so my accent has changed. The uninitiated think I’m either Australian or South African. Those in the know understand it’s an English accent.
I think the Australian accent owes a lot to cockney roots but they we slowed it way down added in our own bits and pieces. Accents facing the me, trouble is, I must be absorbent because if I spend too much time around a person with an accent I end up half parroting the way they speak.
Sounds right M💕
Wonderful journey you just took me on! Thank you!
What a story, Kate! You’re a survivor of life’s twisted turns. Yes, we can each “can choose a different story.” Finding one word to define who I am is a challenge. I choose ‘seeker.’
It’s a good word Rosaliene. I’m not sure what mine is though seeker is certainly part of the trajectory.
Well, I always think this recurring theme of yours is talking to me. And I can’t post about it on my own blog, at least not yet, but maybe talk about it on yours. 🙂 I had an abortion in my twenties, long sad story and not something I really wanted even then. But then I had children. And saw those videos later of how developed a fetus is and when. And now no matter how sure I am other people might forgive me, and possibly some higher power might, I don’t seem to be able to leave it completely. Let it go. It’s definitely informed the rest of the my life. However, I now am less judgmental (of individuals, not groups or causes or religions), and a nicer person, I think. Maybe more grateful in some ways for the children I have. But this late term abortion thing — you can feel life at 15 weeks? A baby feels pain for sure at 20 weeks, yet moves away from a scalpel at 12? And this baby is not alive? My grandmothers both thought it was a “collection of cells” because they, too, had no real information, and I had no idea then (and they don’t attempt to tell you)…but I’m pretty sure it is a person, alive, with rights. I still reluctantly support abortion but within 12 weeks (8 would please me more) because of a woman’s health issues and/or other odd occurrences. And I think the mother’s physical life comes first. This late term thing is sheer barbarism and I DO NOT understand it. You wouldn’t do that to a dog, and the same people condoning it would object if it was a dog… so ….
Thankyou for sharing your story Lynn and it’s obviously something that still causes you a lot of emotional turmoil. It would. I can’t get into the abortion debate simply because as your own story so clearly shows – every single case is an individual one. I’m very grateful not to be in the medical field and to be having to carry out these procedures and I’m equally grateful not to have had to ever make that decision myself.
Until you are in that position, you can’t know which way you would go. I’m not sure anyone feels relieved over it – I think instead there is no right feeling, no moment of peace because as it is a life unlived and unchosen (both yours and theirs) it becomes a ghost that you nevertheless carry and wonder about.
As for forgiveness, of course anyone in their right mind would forgive you. Added to that, I know I feel a great deal of compassion and a complete lack of judgement about your decision.
Forgiveness is a tricky thing – we go looking outside ourselves for it when truly, the only place we can ever find peace is inside. The whole world can forgive a person for something that they have done but unless that person forgives themselves – it just doesn’t seem to sink in.
I don’t think abortion is any business of the government or policy makers. This is women’s business and any woman should be given the support she needs to make the best decision for her circumstance.
There is absolutely no point and in fact I think it is cruel bringing a defenceless human into a world that is not ready to receive him or her. Children are neglected, abused and killed on a daily basis for just that reason. I know that is off point to your story but getting back to your story, remember it is a story.
You can go back now to the woman you were from a much safer and older perspective and give her the love and support that you couldn’t give her then and let your unborn baby go to. Treat that earlier version of yourself with the same compassion you would feel if it were somebody else – because it was.
I have a favourite quote when worrying about the past “let go of the illusion that it could have been any different”. It couldn’t. Rid yourself of all notions to the contrary.
Right. I did the best I could “at the moment” or I would have done differently. An old philosophical argument. Everybody does the best they can at the moment–the reason I’m not for the death penalty. (Especially since it doesn’t work as a deterrent.) Just don’t let them do it again…
And I don’t look for forgiveness elsewhere because that’s the easy thing–but I don’t know if I’ll ever not carry it with me. It’s like I lost one of my own children in a way. And they don’t bother telling people that could happen. Even if I get more comfortable with things, I’ll still have a hole there.
But I agree, it needs to be legal EARLY for a lot of reasons that are complicated, just not past first trimester, which BTW is what the majority of people in this country want — even those who support pro choice. The thought of it past 20 weeks makes me sick to my stomach (unless the mother is about to die.) Of course, I’ve done a lot of research on this as my students always wanted to write about it in my argument classes at university. I tended to want to forbid this subject but those that insisted I tried to talk into narrowing the argument to the morning after pill. To rape or incest. To the limits it should or shouldn’t have, etc. Gestational development. To religious questions. So many aspects that are huge subjects in themselves. The;y simply cannot write on it in a 1,000 word essay. Which is why it is a huge problem here. Same with vaccines and global warming–three biggest subjects and way too complicated for short essays.
The biggest problem, however, isn’t even whether abortion is right or wrong. Not in this country anyway. That can be argued ad nauseum. The biggest problem is it wasn’t legislated by our elected congress, but instead legislated from the bench by un-elected officials. So half the country never accepted it. Such a huge issue. It was better left to states for that reason alone. It was always legal here. Or they could have changed the laws. Amend the constitution. But it should have been left to states or amended like the right of black people and women to vote was amended (and certainly that could have been changed by “interpretation” as well. Yet it was clear that wasn’t the strict intention so it needed to be clarified and amended. Here our tax dollars often pay for it. So people who think it’s murder have their tax dollars support it.
That mess was responsible for the huge divide in this country initially. That alone.
Such as it is.
But I do like that reminder: I WAS a different person then…thanks.
Your life is a beautiful novel. 💚I read to the end easily. Your description of running~the reasons starting, ending, beginning again, the “what if’s”, parallels my feelings of hiking. I get it. And also the feelings of being a Mother. Marriages ended for me; a new relationship (with a HS classmate) in the last two years is a shot at the forever friendship and partnership I’ve so desired. Although faith propels me, and at times has been the cushion for hard falls, I see my Creator in all things around me~particularly nature. Your endorphins are way better jump-starters than my caffeine I rely on too much at times 🙃 choosing one word to define me is difficult ~ I’ll choose “observer”. I observe with no judgment. I learn with no judgment. And I observe so I can relate to whomever or whatever is put in front of me. I observe to learn. I just observe and nod my head (and smile). By the way, I love the pictures. I’m a history lover and all things “relic”~(the cash register is cool). Thank you for this insightful and thought-provoking post. And I love the title indeed. 💕
Love our talks Karla. Observer is a great word and you described it so beautifully, no doubt you are a wonderful listener too. I still can’t narrow mine down I think “chameleon” might come close as I’m always changing and hoovering up new ideas and knowledge. Isn’t the cash register cool! Everything about this place from the boneyard of old cars to the left behind relics of another era were so intriguing. I had the boys and my Dad with me at the time and a lot of “hurry ups” so couldn’t stay but it was such an interesting place. No doubt I’d I went back now it wouldn’t be there – someone would have “cleaned it up”. We had a rubbish dump on our property growing up with all the paraphernalia of my grandparents era – little bottles and old stuff in general. I used to love going over there and fossicking for pots and pans and bits and pieces for my cubbies.
I love our talks too Kate. “Chameleon”~just brilliant. What a great conversation to peel back layers of what defines us. I used to laugh and tell friends and family I was born at the wrong time. Or perhaps I’ve lived in many eras? I would’ve loved to have gone through the rubble with on your property! How awesome. I hope you have an amazing week my friend! Have fun running….and existing. 💕
You too 😊
Great post Kate, just one word would be “Mum” ❤️ I love how you say let it go, don’t make a story, great advice 👌
Thanks Kellie. It’s very freeing when you realise what you are holding onto is truly holding you back – decluttering for the soul.
Gripping and raw. 🌼 beautiful honesty and depth
Thankyou that’s very kindly said
Thankyou that’s very kindly said 😊
Beautiful words and pictures!!! I love the raw beauty of abandoned places ❤️
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