What’s Your Story?

Writing

Before I was a Health Coach, I worked at Memoirs Ink where I helped people write their memoirs. At Memoirs Ink we also ran two personal essay contests a year. Since it was my job to encourage others to write and share their stories with others, I did the same. Amidst all the things that I had going on, writing stories about my life and sharing them with others was a grounding, healing, and all-around amazing experience.

I’ve always loved writing. When I was younger, I kept a journal. I wrote frequently. When I was in the 4th grade, I remember sitting at my desk and writing; we had a visitor one day and as my teacher, Mrs. Cohen, passed by my desk, she turned to the visitor and said, “she’s going to be a writer you know.” I don’t take these words lightly. It would be a dream come true for me to be able to write and share my work with others. No matter what else I have going on in my life, I still write.

When I was in college, I had originally planned on attending medical school, but ultimately decided that there were other paths I wanted to take instead. I missed writing. I took an English class and fell in love. I continued with my science studies, and even though I enjoyed my biology and chemistry classes, I couldn’t fool myself: my happiness rested in Shakespearean sonnets; in Christina Rossetti’s poetry; in Chaucer’s Canterbury tales; in the smell of the old novels and memoirs in the library. Without these great works and my brilliant professors, my life was missing colors, spark, and a passion for writing and reading that I’ve had inside of me for as long as I can remember. I needed to pursue all that I loved – not just the courses that my parents thought were valuable. And sure enough, when I came home and said I wanted to be an English major, my dad threatened to stop paying for my tuition. I became an English major anyway.

When I graduated from college, my parents told me that if I pursued a career in writing, I’d never make any money. But I kept writing anyway. Eventually, I became an editor, but I wasn’t doing the sort of work I wanted to. By that time, I had changed my diet and lifestyle and wanted to share all that I learned about the healing power of food with everyone I knew. I went to nutrition school at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition where Marilena Minucci was one of my teachers. One day she asked, “Did you know that one of the most powerful drivers of human behavior is a person’s story?” She continued, “as humans, we are natural storytellers – just go to the movies, or read a book, or watch TV. We love to express ourselves through our stories.” At the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, I learned that it’s not just the food on our plates that feeds us. It’s also our relationships, careers, exercise, and spirituality. It may seem odd that one of my teachers decided to speak about the power of sharing our stories, but it made sense to me. And for someone who loves to read, write, and learn about nutrition, it was perfect for me.

And I couldn’t agree with her more. I often feel like if I don’t write, something in my life is missing. If I feel cranky, it’s usually because I have so much to share, but I haven’t taken the time to write it down. When we are trying to be healthier, we have to dig deep and find what’s missing in our lives. There are many things we have to ask ourselves, in order to truly heal. Are we expressing ourselves creatively? Do we have an emotional support system? When was the last time we laughed? Do we forgive easily? Are we exercising? Do we love our career? When it comes to our health and well-being, everything is connected. If we’re stressed out at work, we might break out. If our romantic relationship is not fulfilling, we might binge on sweets. When we learn that everything in our lives affects our health, we can find outlets that serve us in beautiful, positive ways. For me, writing is as soothing as meditating, but not everyone values his/her story.

Through working at Memoirs Ink, I learned that many people think that no one will read their stories. Or they believe that no one can relate to their experiences. Or that they’ve got nothing valuable to say. But I say to you, write anyway. Share your story anyway. Ask yourself: where would we be if all the great authors, poets, musicians, and screenwriters kept their talents bundled up inside of themselves? How would we unwind with amazing television and movies if no actor believed enough in himself/herself to pursue an acting career? What concerts would we attend if every musician crawled in a ball because the odds were stacked so high against him/her? Don’t let your inner critic stop you from doing what it is you are meant to do in this lifetime.

So, grab a pen and paper, and write. Let your story unfold, page by page, and share it with the world. You have a duty to share your precious gifts with the world, because the world is a better place when we share our talents. If you have a story burning inside of you, write it. If you love to make people laugh, do it. I support you. Even if you don’t believe in yourself, I believe in you. I see the value in your work. Heal yourself from the inside out, one word at a time.

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