I recently shared a very personal story with the social media community, under the guise of entering a yoga teacher training based competition. The story requested was about how I had come to teach yoga, how it had transformed me and why I want to share yoga with others....and it had to be 100 words or less, which almost killed me.
I drafted two versions. The first one I wrote was the absolute truth about why I decided to do my first teacher training. It was raw, recalled some painful memories but was totally from the heart. When I read it and thought about it I began to feel a bit nervous - do I really want to air my dirty laundry on social media? So I wrote a second story. To give you an idea on how heartfelt it wasn't, I lifted most of it from my bio on my website. That's not to say that my bio isn't genuine, but it's a bit, well, corporate in contrast for lack of a better description.
After consultation with a couple of close friends (and hubby) I took a deep breath and submitted the first version of my story; the raw, dirty laundry one.
Comments and 'likes' from friends, including many who didn't know this story and even complete strangers were really positive, mostly about being honest and inspiring (and looking good in the pic!). The goal wasn't to get the pity vote, in fact, I was worried the story would sound a bit "poor me", a lot of people have had a tougher time than me, some I know about but many I don't because most of us keep our painful stories private. While I respect people's privacy and decision to not over-share, I do wonder if we tend to hold on to our stories too much....maybe releasing them into the wild (universe, web, wherever) as a big declaration is one way to let go of them? Almost a purging of sorts. Of course it doesn't have to be so public, you could try writing it in a letter and sending it off with the recycling, burning it or some such thing. Just something symbolic to signify the final release of it.
This story of mine did the rounds in my head for about 2 years, with new pieces being added over that time. The past year has been spent working through these challenges and getting back to the person I knew I was, if that makes any sense. I no longer needed to hold on to the hurt and grief of these challenges, I was ready to let them go - in fact I had been for a while now - it just took a simple question asked at the right time.
If you want to read the story I've been banging on about, you can find it here.