I am a hoarder.
I know that conjures up certain images, primarily (probably) from reality shows that depict houses with bedrooms so full of materials (papers hangers boxes clothes baskets goldfish) that you can’t even see the bed.
I’m not that kind of horder.
I am a hoarder of stories.
I keep them; I treasure them up; I preserve them and greedily I hold them all to myself.
I don’t even tell them to myself all that much; I just don’t want YOU to have them. Sounds reimicent of a toddler, doesn’t it? MINE! No no! A lot like this kid: https://youtu.be/MA11NlkIREA
I’m beginning to think that keeping the stories to myself comes from a place of fear. I fear that if I tell you the stories and they are as insignificant to you as they are significant to me, then I will have wasted that story. I’ll feel as though the value of it is somehow diminished by it not being as significant to someone else as it is to me.
When I keep stories to myself I’m coming from a place of fear because I worry that by sharing the stories I will encapsulate myself in those stories and you will think there’s nothing more. You’ll think that story is the sum of who I am. You’ll assume that one story, that one moment, is the definition of what that story represents, rather than being one snapshot of one significant moment. I’ll be held to it (or if not me, then the other subjects of the story) instead of it being seen as one point on the arc of a life development.
I find that I hoard stories of the people I love because if I share those you might think that you understand who the person was. Is a person only as much as the stories about them? Can a person’s life be summed up in a few stories, even a book full of stories?
We’ve all had those times when we have told someone the story of something significant to us. Then, months later, we have returned to the story only to have the other party tell us, “Oh, yeah, I remember you telling me about that.” As if one telling of the story can communicate all the nuances or all the significance of what that event meant. As if one telling of the story is a full rendering of that story.
We all know that isn’t true.
But I still want to keep many stories to myself. Maybe it comes from being in an age of over-sharing and online image grooming. The thought of telling an imperfect or unfinished story, especially about ourselves, just doesn’t fit into the curated, highlight reel we try to present, whether that’s knowingly or unknowingly. I think it’s refreshing to hear real stories of imperfect resilience and unfinished, unresolved showing up for our own lives.
With that said, I’m getting ready to tell you a story.
I don’t know how it ends. Sometimes we have to be ok wth that. This is one of those times.
Here’s the thing you need to accept about this story: magic.
I don’t mean magic that requires spells or a cauldron, but simply magic in the sense of serendipity, beauty, or wonder. Magic.
See, I know of a magical parking lot.
You don’t believe me?
I know it’s unlikely, but it’s true.
I know of a magical parking lot where unplanned meetings between strategically placed people happen at opportune moments.
Of course, I didn’t know it was magical when I first found it. The first few times I parked there nothing happened. It may have been because I wasn’t paying attention or I wasn’t looking forward to anything. The first times I parked there it was just a parking lot and I was just parking a car. But when I discovered it was magical it was because I was different.
That’s all I’m going to tell you for now. You’ll have to check back in a few days for the whole story (you can subscribe to make it easier if you’d like). You’ve got enough to think about. Because besides asking you to accept magic, I’m going to ask you a question: if I share my stories, are you willing to consider sharing yours? Maybe not with me, but with someone?
See, I don’t think I’m the only one who hoards stories. I think there’re plenty of other people who do it too. You might be one of them.
It doesn’t matter if it reveals that we’re not perfect, or that we do t have everything figured out. It’s time to share those stories, to let them speak for themselves, to let them give voice to one perspective or one moment and have the sharing of it be enough.