Sometimes the brokenness of our own stories hits too close to home for someone else. It cuts and bleeds as much for them as it does for us. Yet our stories are uniquely ours.
Several years ago, I found myself at my local libraries writing group. I was so delighted to find this group of story sharers and wordsmiths. Words shared through poetry, stories and other forms of writing.
One of my first nights at this writing group, I sat with my beloved poetry binder set on the table in front of me. I held tight to my binder wondering if I should share. I listened intently as others shared.
After a few moments of sharing, I bravely spoke up and began to recite the words to one of the poems I had recently written. The room was quiet as I read my own words. As I finished, one of the participants quickly responded. Hurling a barrage of questions at me, “Does your mom know you are writing about her?” “How dare you write about her mental illness?” I sat in my chair; shocked, full of absolute disbelief.
I ran out the door, grabbing my coat, tears streaming down my face. Within moments, the woman who was leading the group came over to me. She thanked me for my words and told me she understood why I had to leave. I put on my coat and ran up the stairs.
Before I knew it, I was outside as the bitter ND cold hit my face. I put my keys in my car door and sat down. As I sat down, the tears began pouring down my face. I called my colleague. As he answered the phone, I was crying so hard that I literally had to catch my breathe. “Tara, what’s wrong? Take a breathe.”
I slowly regained my composure and shared what had happened. Words of reassurance poured into my ear as he reminded me that often the issue is not the issue. Something was going on in this woman’s life and my words hit way too close to home.
After hanging up the phone, I drove home. As I sat in my apartment, I reflected on the events of the night. This event was an event of Jagged grace that forever changed me. I still share my story; remembering sometimes my story overlaps or parallels to someone else’s story.