Sometimes those who wander are lost. Like me as a teenager getting in about as much trouble as humanly possible. I wandered until I didn’t anymore, but the feelings that I carried like a sack for years after were full of guilt and regret.
A few years ago something happened to change the shape of those memories. When I started to tell my stories to others, I saw that mine were not so outlandish, not so different. We don’t have cookie cutter experiences, it’s true, but there’s power in the emotion of a story and that’s where the similarities begin to intersect. For me this went beyond the proverbial we can laugh about it now because we lived to tell the tale. There grew a need to tell stories that were a little more raw, a little harder to laugh at.
I observed the process of storytelling – writing down the experience, sharing it with a group and then hearing other people act it out in a narrative form – and the restorative good it could do again and again. I learned that I didn’t have to hold my breath when it came to revisiting those memories. Storytelling is healing. And theater is therapy.
I credit my lostness with the desire to tell women’s stories today.
One of the characters in the Diaries, Julie, tells of an experience in her life that was a sort of death and resurrection, a sort of lostness and foundness. She says, “In everything worthwhile there is the dark before the light.” This is a nod to her own painful past but also conveys that everyone goes through similar journeys. And, more importantly, you can’t have one without the other.
Here’s to all of us who have ever been lost.
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