Sometimes I listen to other people share their story—the life that’s brought them to where they are today—and I can’t help but feel like a fraud. A boring, Mary Poppins, always-had-it-easy, no-demons-in-the-closet, Vanilla Girl without a story worth sharing but for some reason shares anyway.
I look around and see people who have clawed their way through life, crawling through the dark and dirty trenches desperately fighting for every breath and success, getting pushed down and knocked out more times than they can count.
They have a journey to share with others.
They can inspire the rest of us to do and be more.
They have words worth sharing and being read and absorbed.
They have a story to tell.
And then there’s me.
A girl who’s fumbled her way through an Easy Enough Life that has seemed hurdle-free. A happy-go-lucky goody two shoes who appears to have her shit together. A Plain Jane with an unremarkably boring life that doesn’t amount to much of a story.
For some reason, though, I still feel compelled to share my Unworthy Non-Story … and isn’t that what makes a fraud? Someone who knows what she is not, but continues as if she were, as if she could be something else. Someone Else.
I sometimes wonder if people see the fraud—that I’m throwing my words out into the world to share my measly experience as if it mattered, as if it’s worth being told. My Lackluster Life.
Then I hear myself tell a friend her heartbreak isn’t invalid because someone has it worse. Her struggle isn’t meaningless because someone else has bigger demons. Her frustration and sadness are very real regardless of what anyone else is dealing with because pain isn’t comparative; it’s real and valid for each person in their moment.
Her story is unique and important because it’s what brought her to exactly the place she is today.
Her value, her worth, the events that make up her story aren’t comparative; they’re uniquely hers.
I hear myself.
I’m not a fraud.
I just need to offer myself the same grace and space I give to others so I can believe it. I have to convince myself that my words are worthy.
As I stop and look at where I am—WHO I am— in this life, I realize I have a story to tell.
I don’t frame my life in the years I was desperately unhappy in my marriage, in the depression that stripped me of living for several years, in the upheaval of repeatedly moving and starting all over, in the exhausting struggles of parenting a child with ADHD, in the physical and emotional challenges unique to parenting a child with a debilitating, chronic illness.
Those struggles have taken me down, knocked the wind out of me, kicked my legs out from under me, held my head under water … but they haven’t defined me. They’ve challenged me and have been part of the journey making me who I am—a strong, determined, sympathetic woman who will cry at the drop of a hat for someone else’s suffering.
Maybe that’s my story. One of not allowing the negative to define me. Living a Glass Half-Full Life, determined to find the good and frame my journey positively. No matter what life throws my way, I eventually bounce back up, ready to move forward.
I am not a fraud.
I am tenacious.
I’m an eternal Weeble Wobble.