Has anyone ever asked you,“What’s your story?”
Whenever someone asks me, I pause, struggling to find words. I usually say the classic where I’m from, where I went to school, where I work now.
As if that could describe one’s whole existence.
What a disservice to the beautiful, messy tapestry that trails behind me—behind all of us. Blowing in the wind of yesterday, tattered around the edges, stitched together perfectly with good intentions and mistakes and perfect timing. All of the minute details that have fabricated our very being. Lest you forget the details that collided and made you you.
I often wonder, what if I change my answer? What if I change my story and really share?
Share the sound of growing up and believing in magic, running in the mud and pretending I was invincible. I even wore a cape and a mask whenever opportunity presented. This was before I figured out that I could be my own superhero.
What if I shared driving my old pickup truck way too fast at night, blasting Blink-182 and laughing with my high school friends because we had just gotten away with some shit? Cigarette smoke curling from my lips as it beckoned me to unveil myself.
The first time I kissed a girl and said, “Oh shit, I’m gay.”
Crying at nothing and everything at once because that’s how it feels when you’re a prisoner in your own mind, under constant fear that the ones who love you most, let alone the whole world, won’t accept how you love.
Staring at twinkling lights under the Eiffel Tower with my best friend, running down dunes in Africa with my grandmother, watching the sunrise paint the walls of the Grand Canyon, yelling at the stars in the night sky under an Arch in the desert. Wondering how the fuck the universe is so vast, and we are so small.
The first time someone told me that gratitude was the real superpower and compassion is the cape.
The first time I experienced the death of someone I loved. I understood that you can feel multiple worlds crashing around you and be stuck at the same time.
What if I shared my first true love, the feeling of total infatuation and then heartbreak? A heart literally feeling like it will rip out of your chest—do you know that kind of carnage?
Crying on the kitchen floor with your best friends, singing Sheryl crow and drinking wine cheap wine until you can’t feel a thing.
Dancing on tables because why would you dance on a floor when there is a literal elevated experience in front of you?
What if I told the story of living in the jungle, surrounded by infinity in the form of nature, Howling at the moon and thunder every day? Fireflies lighting up the night like glitter in the moonlight.
Packing up my car and driving west alone to find myself, only to come back home to return to myself.
What if I said boot camp was hell and the military is as scary as it looks and they really do make you drop and give 50 push-ups before you eat?
That one medicine they gave me stopped my heart. What if I shared that I saw light at the end? And there is light at the end. But it told me “not yet,” and I fought like hell to feel again. The biggest battle was against my own demons. I’m winning.
The feeling of freedom when you got out from under total control. The feeling of emptiness with that can come with freedom.
Heart surgeries—a robbery and gift at the same time. My scar a gentle reminder that time heals and that nothing makes sense, but there will still be moments of total nirvana and clarity.
Days that make me fall in love with being alive again.
Humans that ignite my soul and remind me that I still believe in magic.
What’s my story? It is poetry. It is reading my echo and emulating my mirror, and it is raw and humbling and vulnerable. And terrifying.
It’s right now. It is chaos perpetuating clarity. It is sleepless nights and belly laughs. It is intense and magic and calm.
It is being.
It turns me inside out and reminds me that the only story I own is the one I’m still writing.
But for starters, I’m from Boston.
What’s your story?