A few months ago, while attending the World Women gathering in Auckland, I faced that crazy conundrum of what to tell people when they ask “so, what is it that YOU do?” Back then I hadn’t really completely stepped into my Artist self, so didn’t feel justified or confident in saying that was what I did. And saying that I made jewellery just confused people. So I started saying that I was a story teller – and that I happened to tell my stories through jewellery.
Well, that changed things! Nothing like the surprise in their eyes at an answer so unexpected! Ooh, this was a bit intoxicating – so I told more people that I was a story teller. More surprised reactions.
But do you know what, I didn’t fully understand what it is to be a story teller. For a long, long time I have not fully owned my own story – preferring instead to tell the stories of my ancestors, my heritage – rediscovering forgotten stories and telling these.
A couple of weeks ago I was invited to lunch with 3 women that I didn’t know. The introverted side of me initially screamed “Argh…run a mile” but the daredevil side of me said “Pfffft, why not”. I said yes and what unfolded was, for me, quite a turning point. I began to understand what it is to tell a story AND what it is to have a story to tell! Through the eyes of these amazing women (who are now sisters to me!) I began to see my own journey differently. I realised that I have purposefully discarded parts of my own story because I didn’t think that they had relevance to my current incarnation as an artist…oh, how I love when the Universe smacks you in the side of the head and says “Wake Up”!!!
Our stories are amazing, they are intoxicating, they are inspiring. But we don’t tell them…
…and I think I know why. When you experience your own story, it is something that you don’t see. It takes the experience of seeing your story in the eyes of others that makes you begin to realise how amazing your story really could be to others. You begin to understand that what you thought was unimportant, irrelevant or even downright embarrassing can be that one piece of information that transforms someone else’s life. This isn’t about ego either. This is actually about owning your own journey – not necessarily getting caught in your own history, but understanding that the things you have learned, experienced and even suffered through have profound value.
So I thought I would challenge myself, and you, by sharing 10 things about me and my story that you most likely don’t know. Alrighty then – here goes!
- I am a nerdy nerd…and a highly educated one (I say that proudly). I have a BA in Linguistics, a MSc Hons in Engineering Geology and a PhD in Civil Engineering specialising in Risk and Resilience – yep, I am a Doctor! I regularly contemplate going back to learn something else…top on my list is learning Te Reo Maori.
- I grew up on a farm pretty much smack bang in the middle of the South Island of New Zealand. It was isolated and I had complete freedom to roam as I wanted to. I used to ride my horse and pretend that I was in vast foreign lands galloping through deserts, forests and mountains.
- I often create fantasy languages in my head and when I am by myself I speak them out loud. I have never ever written these down.
- I can draw with my left and right hands, and although I consider myself as right handed, I play sport left handed. Actually, if I play tennis I will often swap hands in the middle of a rally….very confusing for the opposition (note: this does not usually contribute to me winning and I have no conscious control over when I swap hands!)
- I follow a Ketogenic Lifestyle and control my eating with intermittent fasting. It’s been a game changer for me and for my family. I am truly passionate about learning everything I can about our bodies, our minds and nutritional influences to keep us healthy.
- I am a single mum and have been on my own for about 13 years now. I live in a household of 3 generations with my mother and my son. This place is a stopping point for various family who come to stay (sometimes for months which is awesome!!). I believe in family.
- I am addicted to travelling and spontaneous adventures. I often dream about being whisked away on a surprise adventure into mountains or on islands or horse-riding in deserts, then get pissed off because no-one does and I then create my own adventure!!
- Sunrise and sunset make me cry. I often watch them and talk/connect to my ancestors and family on the other side. My dad died suddenly when I was 28 and I often have big conversations with him.
- I think that one day I may enter into politics because I get so pissed off at the current system and feel that you need to participate to make changes. This concept frightens the poo out of me, which is possibly an indication that it’s a direction I will take….eeeeeeek!
- I was horribly bullied at school and spent most of my youth trying to be invisible. When I was 12 years old I was the only girl at my tiny country school who wore a bra. After swimming one day I was so embarrassed that I didn’t put it back on and stuffed it into my bag. Back in class, one of the boys a year older than me grabbed it out of my bag and passed it around everyone at school. I was so humiliated that I hid behind the coal fire and cried my heart out. No-one came to help me. That fueled a body shame that lasted well into adult-hood and which I have only recently (in the past couple of years) addressed.
Wow, OK, there we go….and the amazing thing is that I could easily write another 10 things that I could share about my story. So here is the challenge…can you tell me one thing about your story that you haven’t shared. Hey, I don’t mean something life-shattering (unless you feel you want to). It may be that you absolutely love the Backstreet Boys (oops….there is number 11 for me….*blush*). I don’t really mind.
The point is that we all have something to share that will help someone else in the world, somewhere, some time.
Celebrate YOUR story….