The stories we tell

When I had my bridal shower back in the day when marrying a man seemed like a good idea, I was supposed to stand up at the end and say a few words.

I’m not very good at speaking in front of groups of people.  Even in front of people I know.

As I sat on a chair in the center of the room in my floral dress from The Limited and started stammering, I was rescued by my best friend.

Beaver Stadium“Kick-off is in 30 minutes.  We have to go she said.”

It was a perk that came with being alumni of a university with a dominating football program.

It’s been our running gag every time I am nervous about speaking in front of a group of people or trying to get out of an uncomfortable situation.

“Can’t you come and tell them kick-off is in 30 minutes?” I ask.

Even when it’s not football season.

Last week, I called my friend and told her that because of my book I have an opportunity to speak at a large, multinational company that has an office near my house.  The company has an LGBT group and often has speakers come in.

She tells me to go for it.

“But you know me and public speaking,” I say.

“Maybe it’s time to stop telling yourself the story that you’re not good at public speaking,” she says.

She’s a terrible friend.  The worst, really.

After I get off the phone with her, I think about the power of story.  The stories we tell ourselves.  The stories we tell others.

Then I stumble across this quote about storytelling:

“Being a storyteller is about helping other people tell their stories.”

I know my presentation will address the power of story.  That’s my passion.

In my head, I am mapping out how it will go.

NecktieI am working on a new story about going to the company that first time for a meeting. I am unsure about what to wear.  I am afraid about being judged for being a woman wearing men’s clothes in a corporate work environment.  About looking like a little girl who just raided her dad’s closet.

I sit on the edge of my bed and remind myself to be me.

It will be ok, I tell myself.  Stand tall.  Be strong.  Be butch.  Be yourself.

It’s a pep talk.

Another story.

* * *

What are the stories (good and bad) you tell yourself?

18 responses to “The stories we tell

  1. Be yourself. Your Best Butch. You are GREAT at being you.

  2. You will do just fine.

  3. Telling our stories is so important – You’re going to be awesome!! 😀

  4. Your story is powerful and you tell it beautifully. It is a gift–you are a gift–helping others tell their stories.

  5. It is so hard to identify those stories that we tell ourselves, because it is hard to look at ourselves from the outside.
    We all need rotten friends like yours to straighten us out.
    I took a six month break from blogging. I guess that in the meanwhile, your book must have come out. Here I go right now to find it …

    • I guess you’re right. Those stories become a part of ourselves and that’s why they are so powerful.

      Welcome back! You were missed. And let me know what you think about the book.

  6. Remember the 5 P’s: Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performance. You are gonna knock ’em out! Especially wearing that tie… All the best!

  7. If you are proud of who you are, and you are not a bad person, then try not to let strangers opinions worry you. Those who you love and trust should be the ones whose opinion and judgement count.
    Stand tall, hold your head high, and try to feel confident. And that confidence will project onto others. Good luck!

  8. I enjoy reading your story. Every time I tell a bit of mine I see just a little of how it helps and that what scares me most might not be that scandalous to someone else, and it might even be healing.

    Keep writing and talking. You never know who needed to hear exactly what you shared that day.

  9. very inspiring. I am reading a few of your blogs tonight, catching up I guess! I am intrigued by the power of story. I have done public speaking concerning my living with HIV, and while it’s never easy to tell my story I do believe that it’s important, and if I can help just one person along the way then I will know I have made some impact on the world. I really have to read your book! Can you send me a link? Peace! ~MB

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