I started this topic in #salient-stories. It’s time to continue it, now.
I haven’t revisited that one in a while, but I believe I talked about the process by which I started seeking the stories in life.
There’s a pretty crucial aspect of this topic I haven’t discussed yet, though, directly relevant to the The Project.
I began actively trying to ferret out the stories in others back in college, when I was using cocaine.
I have never met anyone who didn’t have at least one tucked away.
One story, that shifted my perception of them, changed my view of the world in some way.
But even more than this- I realized, after a time, that there were patterns to these stories.
Over and over again, I’d hear very different stories, leading very different people to surprisingly similar sorts of conclusions about themselves, about life.
Experience is how we learn best.
It’s how we learn, period – initially.
At first, we hold these lessons tight.
After all, no one has had the same experiences we have.
Other people wouldn’t understand, not really.
But as we meet more people, share those transformative bits in ways that convey what we learned from them
our sense of alienation decreases, just a bit.
We begin to realize that other people understand the feelings behind the stories, that some of them have learned similar lessons, from sometimes very different life events.
I believe that the longer this goes on, the better we become at learning not just from our own stories, but those of others.
From those we read, or see online, or watch in movies, TV shows.
And that eventually, life itself becomes a sort of guru.
Every moment becomes a source of information, a lesson waiting to be learned – should we only look for it, and be open to that teaching.
It isn’t enough to just tell people what lessons we’ve learned from life.
They might make sense on an intellectual level, but in order for them to resonate- stories are far and away the most efficient way to communicate the kinds of things that will ultimately lead to meaningful change in the lives of others, in the world at large.
I hear over and over that people would like to write, even to contribute to The Project- if they only had something to write about.
Every memory of yours that shines brightest in your mind, whether pleasant or painful, is one that fundamentally and powerfully shaped the person that you are now.
Even things that we might not remember specific events related to-
I stopped letting my parents hold me when I was around 4 years old.
I believe a perceived threat of love that could be taken away, that was conditional, created in me tendencies to be overly self-reliant.
Then I moved between schools, really frequently.
Became very good at making friends, very bad at keeping them.
This self-reliance thing, it was toxic.
It was a cope.
It wasn’t until this past year that I finally internalized this, in a way that actually led to changes in my behavior.
For years, I knew I was doing it, knew I had a problem asking for help.
Still couldn’t change, until recently.
Well, I met a girl in college that, outwardly, was very different from me.
She was clingy, I was stoic.
But you know what? It was the same fear, of early rejection/abandonment, that had caused each of us to react in very different ways.
There is utility in sharing our formative life events, even if we do not feel like we have any universal lessons to impart.
We are the universal lessons.
All of us.
My stories, they won’t be enough.
My life has been too extreme, too crazy for most people to readily identify with.
Many will turn away at the first mention of something socially unacceptable, and there are many of those, as all of you well know.
Those that do not – some will approach it, approach me and my stories – with a kind of morbid fascination; but will still have difficulty seeing me as the kind of person they might be able to connect with. I am a bit farther along the alien spectrum than many are.
But those of you, here now?
The tech people, the teachers – actually, is there anyone here in this server that isn’t either a teacher or a tech person, or both?
Haha!! I sure do have a type in my friends
When you think of a moment that was formative to making you, you-
Try to share it with someone, if you feel up to it – even if you think no one will relate to it, or find it interesting.
Doesn’t have to be in a channel, doesn’t have to be public.
Just give it a try, see what happens.
I think the problem is not that we do not have anything worthwhile to say.
It’s that we don’t realize how much utility there is in sharing the process of growth, at every stage.
I’m having some difficulty putting myself in my own former shoes.
But if I’d been writing the whole time?
This process would be much easier.
I did not just suddenly blip into existence this past year, fully formed.
There were countless steps that guided me into becoming the person that I am now, steps that are so crucial, I would likely be in a very different place now had I skipped any one of them.
Most people are still very much struggling.
There will be some farther along the path towards happiness, well-being, and peace than you, and many not as far as you.
Whoever you are, there is someone out there struggling with something you’ve recently overcome.
Don’t sell yourself short by thinking you have nothing useful or interesting to say.
You have stories.
You have insights and wisdom that will resonate with people that I cannot reach.
The Project will never work in the way that I have envisioned, until it is no longer my voice alone.
My words may occasionally have power, sure.
But our words? Together?
I truly believe we can change the world. Drastically.
Starting right now.