When You Don’t Have the Right to the Story

notebook and computerYou have the right to the stories of your hurts, triumphs, let downs, and courage. You do. You have a right to speak up when you have been hurt, maligned, abused, or disregarded. You do have the right to the narrative of wounds that have marked the pages of space in your heart and soul. But what about when we try to own the rights to someone else’s story?

I wonder if somewhere in the telling of our stories if we’ve not trespassed the story of another person. I wonder if, in our attempts to work through our own personal pain, we have not disparaged another soul or robbed them of the opportunity for grace and restoration or the telling of their truth. When you don’t have a right to the story, you don’t get to say what is or is not acceptable. You don’t get to revise and edit so you can be comfortable with the jagged edges of another soul’s story. The pen in someone else’s hand does not belong to you.

I’m still wondering these ideas of story, ownership, and its impact. I question if I have allowed myself to build up a wall of judgment. Have I imprisoned those who have harmed me by using my words to entrap them, silence them, or cut them off? Have I done to them the same harm they’ve inflicted on me? I’m pondering these things lately. It’s hard stuff to consider. I’m not saying to ignore, disregard, or lay aside the hurts, misgivings, or concerns. There is a place for that, and it should not be ignored. But I wonder if there is a more appropriate time and space in which I can be real, messily vulnerable, and a bloody wreck? I think of it as the place where I can be real, whole, naked, and unrefined. It’s a place where I can show every bump, bruise, and ugly truth.

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Yes, we have a right to our individual stories. I have a right to my story and to a healing promise, but perhaps that telling need not always be at the expense of someone else’s chance of redemption or restoration in the story. I cannot be the final judge, nor can I continuously hold vengeance in my heart when I tell my story. That serves no purpose and only keeps me in a state of pain and unforgiveness. I desire wholeness and freedom even when that means letting go of the ache.

Maybe we can rethink where we place our stories and where they can be held in sacred trust. Perhaps there is wisdom in holding space with one or a few rather than with the many. Maybe in the letting go with a one or a few, we find freedom to overcome those parts of our stories that could potentially wreck us and the way we relate to others or find healing.

Maybe we can rethink where we place our stories & where they can be held in sacred trust. #thelemonadestories #write31days Click To Tweet

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The empathetic in me says, “dear heart find your safe people and allow yourself to get messy. Get ridiculously and brutally honest about your hurts and wounds in ways that lead you to freedom and healing. Don’t be afraid to own your part of the story; it’s yours.” Maybe in the process, we learn to speak up in ways that are powerful, purposeful, and life affirming. These are words I speak to my own heart because I know that I cannot cling to unresolved pain and expect to have a healthy hope. I cannot rewrite someone else’s story. I only have the power to revise my own.

When I don’t have the rights to the story of the others, I’m invited to own my story – every brittle piece. It’s perspective. I learn to focus on my side of the street rather than the mess someone else creates in their own story. These days I’m choosing to live in the beauty and redemption of my story.

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This post is a part of my 31 Days of Writing challenge. It’s all about taking the sour things of life and reframing them to find the sweetness of faith, hope, and resilience. I hope you’ll join me on this month-long journey.  You’ll also find me sharing bits and pieces on my Twitter and IG accounts. I’d love to see you here, and you can also subscribe to my blog/newsletter here.


4 thoughts on “When You Don’t Have the Right to the Story”

  • 1
    Emily McFarlan Miller on October 4, 2015 Reply

    So much goodness in this post, Marvia! As a journalist, I’ve always felt very deeply the weight of telling another person’s story. It’s not something I take lightly, and I weigh others’ roles carefully when I tell my stories, too. There is so much hope, too, in realizing we only can revise our own stories! That’s freed me from feeling like I can or should change other people, and it frees other people to be themselves.

    • 2
      Marvia on October 6, 2015 Reply

      Emily, thank you so much for reading. It’s process and dignity and grace to bear our own stories.

  • 3
    coffeesnob318 on October 5, 2015 Reply

    “Maybe we can rethink where we place our stories and where they can be held in sacred trust. Perhaps there is wisdom in holding space with one or a few rather than with the many.” I loved this part – really the whole post – but especially this part.

    • 4
      Marvia on October 6, 2015 Reply

      Suzanne,thank you. I appreciate you much.

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