Friday, October 14, 2011

Storybook of Who You Are

Got this idea from a book I'm currently reading.  A Softer Strength, a Christian book by Dondi Scumaci.

What is the story of who you are?

If you scrapbook your family's life, or working on a written history of your family, have you given serious thought to revealing your personal life story?  The part that happened before your present life, whatever that may be.

If you're a Mom now, do your kids know who you were before you became their mother?

Think about it.  How important would it be to see and read the story of your mom's life?  Your dad's story?  Maybe your grandparents' lives?

I'm piecing together the life stories of my parents and grandparents in the present now.  Yes, I enjoy the research, the discoveries I make almost on a continuing basis.  But I can't help think how awesome it would be if my ancestors had written something while they were alive.

I guess I'm lucky, or blessed, or both, to have a good long-term memory of the stories I heard as a kid, of the family events and celebrations, the good times and the bad times.

But I'm really not talking "history" here as much as "story."  Personal story of who a human being is, inside and out.

I wonder if many of us even know who we are inside and out.

I'm getting more familiar with who I am because of the writing.

I also some of us even care or think it's important to know who we are.  Really know.  We wear many hats in our lives.  We are many things to many people.

Is it important to know thyself?

"There are three Things extremely hard, Steel, a Diamond, and to know one's self." ~ Benjamin Franklin
Wherever we go, whatever we do, self is the sole subject we study and learn. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), Journals (1833) 
Emerson also wrote a poem entitled "Γνώθι Σεαυτόν", or Gnothi Seauton ('Know Thyself'), on the theme of 'God in thee.' Emerson's belief that to 'know thyself' meant knowing the God which Emerson felt existed within each person.

Maybe we're afraid to go that deep into ourselves.  We like the status quo because it's safe.

At any rate, I'm at a point in life where I'm forced to expose the person I am for my own mental health.  I wonder if this happens to all of us at some points in our lives.

I've heard people who've experienced heart attacks speak of this.  Having a close call in life can make a person dig deep.  Become "real."

My favorite take on becoming real.

What is REAL?” asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. “Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?”
“Real isn’t how you are made,” said the Skin Horse. “It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.”
“Does it hurt?” asked the Rabbit.
“Sometimes,” said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. “When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.”
“Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,” he asked, “or bit by bit?”
“It doesn’t happen all at once,” said the Skin Horse. “You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”~The Velveteen Rabbit, Margery Williams

Becoming real causes healing.

Some think they don't need healing...they're just fine, always have been, always will be.

That's strange thinking in my opinion.

Surface living.  Not worth much.

Always keeping everything as light as that fake butter they sell in the grocers' dairy cases.  No real substance.  A substitute for the real thing.

A lot of us come from families whose mantras read, "Don't let others know who we really are. Keep everything to ourselves.  Don't let the neighbors know."

Eventually that dedication to secrecy catches up with us.  

Because families aren't always right about things.

Are you still resisting that fact?  That families aren't always right?  Why?  What's at stake?

Think about The Story of Who You Are.  It's a storybook.  You can write it.  You can illustrate it with all those photos you have.  You will end up knowing yourself and becoming real.

1 comment:

  1. Bettyann, I enjoyed your post, especially these statements. I declared "YES!" while I read them:

    "If you're a Mom now, do your kids know who you were before you became their mother?"

    "I can't help think how awesome it would be if my ancestors had written something while they were alive."

    "I'm really not talking 'history' here as much as 'story.' Personal story of who a human being is, inside and out."

    Thanks for today's inspiration!