50 Thoughts: On Stories Never Told

Originally published September 26, 2018

I thought when I started my 50-day blog challenge, it would be really hard because, honestly, I’m a pretty open book. There’s not much I haven’t already shared my two cents about.

But along the way, it seems there’s always been something to write about. Then, tonight, my blogging community leader threw out our monthly challenge — to write about a story we’ve never told anyone before.

So of course now I’m stuck. Really. Thanks to social media and this blog, anyone who knows me knows:

  • I almost killed my family with 15-year-old bouillon cubes used in meatball stew.
  • Despite these attempts, I still have three kids and a husband I love very much.
  • I like to embarrass my kids by singing Styx while driving them to school.
  • Special needs parenting is a bitch sometimes.
  • I lost my mind when Trump won and adopted a dog.
  • A day-old pair of underwear fell out of my pants leg on the sidelines of a soccer game.
  • I’ve been dryer riding.
  • I love my feet.
  • I’ve walked several blocks in downtown Chicago with my skirt accidentally tucked into the back of my underwear.

The only stories I haven’t told yet are the ones I am not quite ready to. The ones that belong in large part to someone else. Or just need more time. Or a different place. It’s beyond frustrating to spend these past days listening to men dismiss stories of women when you know how hard it is for them to come forward and share. Just because it took them years to find a voice doesn’t make the tales any less true. Watching this drama unfold is disheartening, to say the least, to people who have long struggled with trauma. More of their stories may wait a little longer.

On the flip side, in this age of oversharing, there’s something to be said about keeping a few things to yourself. I don’t need Kim Kardashian’s butt selfies, for example. More power to her, but I’m going to give that click a hard pass when I’m scrolling through Facebook. Or Chrissy Teigen’s admission to sex on a first date with her husband. OK for her to tell, but I am choosing to save the brain space for something else.

Sharing untold stories can be incredibly powerful. This last 40 days (with 10 to go) has been a truly insightful learning experience. And someday, there will be more of my soul to bare. When the story is ready, it’ll find a voice.

Today’s recommendation: When it comes to storytelling, it doesn’t get much better than Michael Hainey’s Chicago childhood memoir, After Visiting Friends

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