In her fabulous Bird by Bird, Anne Lamott reads from the gospel of Toni Morrison:
“The function of freedom is to free someone else,” and if you are no longer wracked or in bondage to a person or a way of life, tell your story. Risk freeing someone else. Not everyone will be glad that you did. Members of your family and other critics may wish you had kept your secrets. Oh, well, what are you going to do? Get it all down…
This is my “fractured fairy tale” made new:
Once upon a time, kind of a medium number of years ago, I found myself “wracked and in bondage” not to a person so much—though that had to be dealt with—but to beliefs I had and stories about how life was supposed to be and how powerless I was to change that.
Then, one day, I found myself four months pregnant and filing for divorce. The details really don’t matter anymore. Go ahead and fill the story in with whatever makes sense to you. I simply could not put a child in the place where I was.
There was no fairy godmother in sight!
Slowly, I found my way to freedom, ironically led by that little child. I learned along the way that the stories we tell, the realities we create with our very words, make all the difference. I learned that our stories can be edited! Re-formed into tales of freedom rather than bondage.
To risk freeing someone else is to tell those new stories. With clients only daring to hope that change might actually be possible for them. With folks praying that the 7:00 news isn’t the only story there is. With rescue dogs. And with grandchildren who have the amazing chance to learn better, stronger stories the first time through!
To fashion new stories, stories that are empowering and more true, is to free yourself over and over again and to risk freeing someone else.
Often Kleenex is involved!