A weird thing is happening to me as I near my 49th year of life and I’m guessing there are some people who read this blog who just might be able to relate. No, I’m not talking about missing menstrual cycles, hot flashes and the inability to string more than a few hours of sleep together on any given night, I’m talking about wanting to write about my life but realizing just how many stories are not mine to tell.
It’s different when your family is younger. There is a general consensus that telling stories of what you do and where you go and who you are is a little easier when you are an editor with a younger tribe. And yet what is life if not the stories of every day, whether they are joyous or sad, simple or complicated, yours or mine?
Ah life! It’s a glorious series of stories linked together on a chain marked by days, hours, minutes and seconds. It’s a narrative of flesh and blood and time and experience. But as this family gets older, the narrative is shifting because I’m not the sole keeper of the stories. The single story perspective has to change.
I can tell you about me. I can tell you about Dan. I can tell you about therapy’s highs and lows. I can tell you about ultimate frisbee and paying for college tuition. I can write about struggling to pick safe topics about which to write. But as my children become not children anymore, their respective narratives require me to honor their privacy as they figure out who they are and who they want to be.
Write about what you know. That is a guiding principle for writing that has never failed me. When I write about what I know, the words just flow.
But right now, there I things I know or think I know, that are not mine to tell.
That’s a weird place for a professional memory keeper, you know? It’s actually a really hard place to be for me, creatively, professionally and personally.
I wonder if this is why I’ve been dipping into older layouts for my Make a Page Monday series. I know there are stories that are much safer to share. Stories that don’t require the same level of respect and intimacy and care. Because new pages, if they were truthful pages, would hold stories of sadness, disappointments and struggles. And though I play a part in those stories, it doesn’t green light me to write about them here.
Because surprise, not everything is about me.
Write about what you know. I’m trying but right now what I know is that my family is a work in progress and my job is to protect certain stories.
It doesn’t mean I can’t find other stories to tell. It just means I need to dig a little deeper.
Or not. Maybe I’m really overdue for a long post about hot flashes.