The Stories We Tell Ourselves

Do you have a story that you tell yourself about your life?

Because I do.

And I’m pretty sure I’m not alone being a “storytelling animal.”

My story is in the name of my music project, Lady Lazarus. Like most, I’ve been through some very hard times in this life and wanted to commit myself to more of a rising action versus the perpetual falling I’d been experiencing over the years. Going up and down and up and down. Finally, I wanted to just go up.

And slowly, but surely, I’ve been lifting myself up out of the darker days of my past.

I’m not any more heroic than any other, but I am very much a storytelling animal. I was enchanted with books and stories growing up, started a lifelong love affair with writing way back in junior high, and then much later, discovered the often transcendental experience of songwriting (music + words = magic).

Lady Lazarus (taken from the Sylvia Plath poem) was and is a narrative that has helped me grow and heal. And as I’ve delved deeper into my shadow, I’ve discovered a few other stories that I relate to. Sometimes I’ve felt like a Dickensian orphan, or Roald Dahl’s Matilda. I’ve been the awkward Ugly Duckling sticking out from her native crowd and wandering until she found her kin. Other times, I’ve felt like Cinderella.

It wasn’t until after college though that I really got what the power of stories and myths are all about. Joseph Campbell helped point the way, and later also Clarissa Pinkola Estés and Carl Jung.

We come to know ourselves more fully through stories and the stories we tell ourselves, the deeply embedded narrative of our lives. What kind of character or characters we are. What the main plot points, recurring themes, and arc of the story are all about. And, if we’re paying enough attention, how to follow patterns, signs, clues, and gain the wisdom to heal from our past and ancestral traumas, to use our unique powers to overcome obstacles, and become ultimately the writers of our own journeys.

   A baby swan (cygnet) in Hyde Park, London   by Keven Law (Creative Commons)

A baby swan (cygnet) in Hyde Park, London by Keven Law (Creative Commons)