21 January 2017

What's your current story?

When you are getting to know people, you seem to exchange certain kinds of stories. How'd you meet him or her? Where did you grow up? For the extroverts among us, this often means a story. Another case of story is when a strange incident has recently occured and you end up telling it repeatedly as you see different friends or family. At least, if you are a talker, this happens.

I noticed recently that stories ebb and flow. A couple of stories from my introvert significant other's life before I met him make me laugh until I cry, but we haven't told these stories in years because other stories have risen to the surface. For some reason one the stories involving nearly passing out in a hot tub came up again. I thought how odd we haven't told that for so many years.

Again, someone asked me something about my childhood that triggered a story that used to be a bigger part of who I was when I was younger. Now I rarely think of it and it doesn't seem so much a part of who I am now. In my adolescence and early adulthood, it was I suppose my only medical story or one of those odd things you tell. (Er, uh, extroverts tell.)

That story involved accidentally biting my tongue all the way through in a blind mans bluff accident. That's the short version.  A longer version involves no trip to the emergency room, drinking smoothies with raw eggs and soup for the summer, and "cosmetic" surgery to remove the flap that resulted from the accident. This blog isn't about that particular story in my life but it's the fact that a story that loomed so large for me for years can fade.

It still is part of what makes me who I am but I see a pattern where we move on to other stories in our lives. The new stories also make up who we are but the seasons change and those become displaced by some other story. A lot of women seem to have the story of childbirth loom large (no pun intended) and that becomes part of how they relate to others and so that becomes a major story.

When we lived in Belgium for two years in our 20s, all my stories seemed to start, "In Belgium..." Eventually I realized some of it was just incident stories of funny things or weird things, I could stop saying where they happened and just say what happened. To me it was integral where they happened but no one else cared. It was part of how I measured my life stories at the time.

A couple years ago I had another small health incident. It was my first night in the hospital since birth,  and I remember thinking, this will be a good story. But somewhere in the midst of the night of ice packs and a man yelling "madre" even though he was 80, well some of the humorous story wore off.

All of this gets me thinking about the stories that stay but just below the surface ready to pop out at any moment. These are the how did you meet or child birth type stories. But some stories get caught swallowed up as time moves on and hands us more and more stories. I'm fascinated to look back and see which ones rise up again and most startled when someone tells an event back to me that I was part of that I don't remember at all. It was a story for them but somehow not for me, but we were both there.

What's your current story?