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writing my story

writing my story in 30 minutes--I'm just going to write about where I am now. How I got here is a good story, and takes longer than I have right now. Have you heard of setting an intention? I've heard a lot of stories about how powerful this is and how many people have reached goals by doing it. It seems like good common sense to me: By saying my goal, by having to articulate it, I have to be clear about it. Being clear about it means that I can see it. Being able to see it means I can believe it's real. And maybe reachable. I guess my intention is simple. I've wanted to write and help ease suffering all my life. Especially people suffering from feeling alone (not people who are happy feeling alone). Ugh, I don't know why I couldn't just want to write about style. I love style (and hate the word fashion, which, to me, and who knows why, sounds like the 80s and fake gold earrings to me, and not cute ironic fake gold earrings). I wanted to write with the hope of helping someone who feels or has felt alone or like they don't fit in. That's everyone at some point. I hope everyone would feel like they could relate to what I write. I'd write from my perspective as a woman, a person of color, a child of immigrants (and at this point, I might have scared off a good two-thirds of a potential audience. But I hope not!!). I feel like my passion is to help people who don't want to be alone, to feel not alone. Especially babies and young people, but anyone really. Here's when that hope came into focus for me. When I was 19 or maybe 20, my mom called me at my college apartment. I said, "Hello?" but she didn't say hello back. She asked, in a voice I can only describe as keening, "Are you ready for the news?" She might have also asked if I was sitting down. I wasn't. But I'd never heard news where I might need to sit. I awkwardly sat myself down on a tall kitchen stool. And then she cried, "Yowan killed himself!" I later learned how he'd written "help!" all over his bedroom walls. How his parents, my dad's sister and brother in law, kept him at home or at the library every day. How his parents fought. How they were both Christian ministers who didn't seem to live in the same place at the same time very much. I learned how he'd bought a hunting shotgun and how he shot himself in the head and how my father had to identify his body because his sister could not, and how my mother repeated this weird lie that must have sounded weird even to her-- that there might have been 'foul play.' I learned how denial didn't heal anything at all. Yowan was so, so alone. I wish I could have helped him know he wasn't alone, or at least not without people who wanted to be with him in life. This story is not fiction. I feel like my line of work doesn't allow for fiction. Our whole mission is telling real stories. Sometimes the stories I'm most delighted by, are documentaries, are people's real, messy, beautiful, embarrassing, dignified lives. I think that's what I really want to do. Maybe interviews with everyday people. That would help people feel less alone. Maybe a photo or piece of art and the interview. That's what I want to do. Oh that's perfect for me. That's what I really want to do. Maybe sometime I can write a fictional interview with a superhero woman of color. Take it to ComicCon! In 30 minutes where I"m supposed to write my life story, I figured this out to be my intention. I'm setting it-- I want to write these interviews and one day read one on Selected Shorts. One night, I was listening to Selected Shorts on the radio and thought to myself, "I have a goal to have my work read on that show," and then I saw the longest, brightest shooting star I've seen in years, and that felt like as much of a sign as anything, short of having a burning bush yell at me. So that's pretty good. 5 reasons this story is important 1. It can help someone else feel not alone 2. It helps me understand myself and my desired work in the world better 3. It excites/motivates me to know myself and my intentions so clearly! 5 ways you can use your story to help people 1. Using this story and then helping others share theirs is inherently helpful 2. I can publish on my blog 3. I can share these posts with friends on FB and beyond *********************** Tweet your thoughts to @Anita_Sarah. Thank you!


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