The stories that are pushed upon us by the people around us can be the hardest ones to shake. I’ve been thinking about Amanda’s story lately. Amanda grew up in a Christian community where there was a great deal of judgement. The story that her community told her was that girls don’t ever deal with any sort of sexually related thoughts, and if you do, you’re a sinner. Amanda, being a normal human being, grew up trying to process this in the context of her actual lived experience. Especially in her teenage years, she had the normal feelings and biological urges that we all experience as our bodies are changing. Although she did not act on them, she still felt the same things that we all do.
Hearing these voices that told her that she was a sinner for thinking and feeling in a way that she couldn’t control, she “felt broken… and [she] couldn’t tell anyone about it because [she] thought that [she] would be judged.” This was a dark period in her life.
It wasn’t until she went to college and actually shared her story with someone that she was told “yeah, I feel that way too. Everybody deals with this.” Amanda came to realize that not only was she not alone, but that the voices that were keeping her silent were the voices keeping her down.
She doesn’t wish anyone to have gone through her experiences, but she believes that if she can share her story of understanding, she may be able to help someone else realize that they are worthwhile and beautiful. She feels that in that way, her experiences were worth going through.
Her story is a fantastic example of this idea that our society and culture can tell us a story about ourselves that is not true. They have the pen and will write our story for us. We need to take back the pen and write our own story. When we don’t write our own story and come to an understanding of our own experiences, we run the risk of allowing someone else’s story become our own.