There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you – Maya Angelou
This quote has never rang true like it has in the last couple of months. I got a call from Don Bosire, one of the Engage Founders a few months back and in typical Don style without beating around the bush, he asked me “What’s your story”? No one had ever asked me that before so I was confused. My first reaction was to stand up from my desk at the office and get into a meeting room for some privacy. I had no idea what I was going to say but I knew whatever it was I needed to say it in private. I poured out a number of what I thought were nice stories, the ones that paint an awesome picture of myself. Don wasn’t buying it. Like a little annoying child who asks why? after every answer you give, he peeled all the layers of my stories like an onion until I got to one that he thought was fit for purpose. To be honest I hated it, it was something I had never told anyone ever! He was the first person to tell this and now here he was asking me whether I would be comfortable telling this story to people at the next engage themed ‘Work In Progress’
I was at a very vulnerable time in my life. I did however know that I had to start doing things a little differently if I was to make it out of this season. I said yes before my brain could start talking me out of it. That’s how I ended up as a speaker at the 24th season of Engage. The next six or so weeks after that phone call would prove to be the toughest weeks of my life not so much because of the preparation of speaking in public, but more because of my story. It made me unpack so many things that I had neatly tucked away because strong women like me are focused on the solution and have no time to sit in pain, to feel it, to reflect and to consciously heal it before moving on.
Being on that stage and telling my truth has done more for me than I ever could have imagined. First, I wept like a baby once I was done with it and after that I felt lighter, like a weight had been lifted from my shoulders. That’s when this quote by Maya Angelou came alive for me ‘there is no greater agony than bearing an untold story’
We all have a story and unfortunately we spend so much time worried about what others will think about us that we don’t realize that we are trading in a much greater freedom for ourselves. The reason many of us don’t speak up is because we become one with our story, we believe that the story is who we truly are when as a matter of fact the truth is that the story is only what happens to you. How you choose to behave despite it is who we truly are.
You may not get the opportunity to share your story on a stage like I did but if you look around you have family and friends who are ready and willing to listen should you ever decide to speak up about your pain and your brokenness.
I pray that we can all begin to cultivate vulnerability with our loved ones.