The Power of Owning Your Story

Sep 13, 2023

I never intended for anyone to read my story. It’s a strange feeling even to say I’ve published it, but it’s true.

Every experience we live through leaves an imprint on us; some of us, especially me, struggle to share our experiences because we’re so comfortable hiding behind the scenes. Once I recognized my pattern of hiding, I knew I needed to find the courage deep within to overcome my fears of being exposed, judged, or self-doubt. Through this journey, I found my purpose in inspiring others who are hurting, hiding, or guarding their hearts and empowering them to raise their voices and share their truth. It’s a way of releasing past experiences and allowing healing to unfold naturally.

I never planned on being an Author, so I was unprepared for many aspects of writing my story. All I had to do was write down my memories. It sounded simple enough. Yet I learned that writing isn’t about telling; it’s also about showing, which meant I would have to go back into my memories to see and feel them again, the smells, the physical response, and the emotions. To narrate and paint a picture with your words brings your readers into the moment, allowing them to immerse themselves in each moment.

At one time, while writing out a particularly anxiety-inducing part of my story, a notification from my Apple watch alerted me that my heart rate had spiked too high. The truth is that trauma is not just “in your head.” It leaves an actual, physical imprint on your body. Therefore, when you close your eyes and envision a memory that caused you pain, your body reminds you that it’s still lingering.

I knew I needed to heal, yet talking about it was only the first step; the most excruciating part was writing the explicit details and revealing aspects of my life that I had kept hidden for so long. And believe it or not, I wanted to. I wanted to come out of hiding and share my experiences in hopes that someone, even just one person, would hear my story, feel less alone, release their shame, and find the courage to take back their power or own their story.

As challenging as this process was, it was also rewarding. Page by page, chapter by chapter, I did all those same things for myself. I was breaking old patterns, releasing my shame, and finally owning my story. The story was mine and mine alone to tell. I had the choice to keep it hidden, or I could bravely lay my cards on the table, show my scars, and the wounds still healing. I chose the latter. And I was terrified.

When we keep our stories locked away, they begin to rot and decay within us—exposing our inner emotions and impacting our health and well-being. It stung, and my every instinct was to hide it away again, but something I didn’t expect also happened: the healing came. Exposing my story and bringing it to light, vulnerably baring my soul, allowed those infected wounds to heal themselves.

Narrating my own actions and choices was heartbreaking. But it was also Heart-Healing. I no longer saw myself as someone filled with shame; instead, I saw myself differently. I saw a little girl, a rebellious teen, an inexperienced young woman, and a sacrificial mother. I saw someone broken but worthy of love, happiness, and healing. I saw someone brave who survived, tried and tried again, and never gave up. I saw someone who fought for her children, her family, and those she loved. I saw how all that fighting had been, in a small way, her attempt at fighting for herself.

But I wasn’t a character in a story. It was me. The same person on those pages was alive and breathing and everything about the woman in the book was true about me. That’s when I realized that the most powerful thing I had ever done was to take my story in all its unrelenting glory and share it. Share it with truth and authenticity, but most importantly, love.

What surprised me the most about writing this book was that I loved the woman I was writing about. I didn’t victimize her; I embraced her and, in the process, deeply loved myself. Owning my mistakes, extending forgiveness, transforming behavior patterns, and genuinely finding a new purpose.

I genuinely believe that every one of us has a story to tell. Our story. Waiting for us to take hold of it, to love it despite our flaws. It’s waiting for each of us to move through it. Yes, reliving it will be painful, but the healing will come. It will come, and we will all be able to love ourselves and each other better than we could before.

Only some people will share their story in the form of a book. As I did initially, you may need to write it for you. Or you’ll find a trusted friend to listen as you walk through your healing process. No matter how you share your story, do it. Tell it, share it. Welcome it, imperfections and all, into open, loving arms, and offer yourself – the healing you deserve.