Week One: What is the Story You Want to Tell?
This is a 30-week series with topics and questions from Heal My Voice: An Evolutionary Woman’s Journey by Andrea Hylen. Available on Amazon
Question 1 of 30: What is the story you want to tell?
“When I started working on women’s history thirty years ago, the field did not exist. It was not recognized. People didn’t think women had a history worth knowing.” ~Gerda Lerner, On Thinking Allowed with Jeffrey Mishlove, August 2010
When I read about Gerda Lerner recently in Carol Lee Flinders book called, “At the Root of This Longing,” I started to realize something deeper about what we are doing and being in Heal My Voice programs and in The Writing Incubator. Women are writing their stories and recording Women’s History. This is why it is so important for women to flood the market with their stories. Not just our theories or steps to success but the raw emotion of awakening. Writing our history.
It’s time to tell our stories. You are a history worth knowing.
Let that idea wash over you today. Your voice, your stories, your writing, your programs, your books are a record of Women’s History. Your voice is so important!
We all have many stories in our lives. So, which one is bubbling in you right now? Which story would serve you to write?
While writing my first story for publication, in 2008, for Conscious Choices: An Evolutionary Woman’s Guide to Life, I thought I was going to write a story about the birth and death of my son, Cooper. That was the story I had spent time feeling and processing and I wanted to share my experience with other women. But there was another story that was bubbling inside of me. It was a story that began when I heard a song playing in my head. “It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood, a beautiful day for a neighbor…” I recognized the song as something Mister Rogers sang on his PBS Children’s Show. “Okay,” I said to myself. “Why does this song keep playing in my head? Why am I waking up hearing it when my kids are all grown up now? I haven’t watched Mister Rogers in years!” I started to remember a really low point in my life when they were both under the age of 2. I felt unloved and unseen by my husband. Nothing I did, nothing I said, was “right.” I felt criticized and then ignored. As I started to write about things I was feeling during that time, I discovered a moment in that story:
Friday morning was the day I was at home with my daughters, catching up on the laundry, cooking meals for the next week an getting the house organized before the weekend. We would watch Sesame Street and Mister Rogers. There was always a moment when Mister Rogers would say, “I love you just the way you are.”
And just like that, when I remembered the feeling, I knew that that was the story I needed to write. It was a story about a low point when I felt hopeless. Mister Roger’s words gave me hope to find a way back to myself. Writing about that low point helped me connect the dots of when my healing and transformation began. It helped me to see my strength and personal power.
Think back to a time in your life. Let’s pick high school, as an example. Notice if there is a memory of pain or pleasure. Now, think about your first boyfriend or girlfriend. What is a memory? The first thing you may experience is a feeling. It might be a tightness in your chest or bubbling joy in your belly. There may be a variety of emotions, even if there isn’t a specific moment you remember. Begin there.
To inspire and ignite your writing, begin to ask the question, “What story do I want to tell?” Start asking it out loud to yourself. Maybe you ask it before you go to sleep at night. Or you ask it first thing in the morning. Don’t grab for the story. Just wait and allow it to come to you, like the Mister Rogers song came to me. It could be a feeling. It could be an emotion. And when you feel the memory rise, write it down! Acknowledge the moment, even if you don’t want to write a whole story right now. Write it down and wait for more inspiration to follow.
As I re-read the quote by Gerda Lerner, it seems hard to believe that there wasn’t a program to study women’s history, right? Or does it? Gerda Lerner introduced the first official women’s history program in 1972 at Sarah Lawrence. 1972!! I was just entering high school. No wonder I was confused about who I was as a woman. There were very few examples of women in our curriculum or our conversations.
That was then, this is now.
When I published my book this summer, I gave a copy to each of my daughters. The book has fourteen of my personal stories of challenges with triumph. It is a path of how to awaken and evolve, as a woman. I told them that I didn’t expect them to read it now. But some day, they would want to read my words and share them with others. It is the history of their mother. It is the history of a woman: Heal My Voice: An Evolutionary Woman’s Journey.
Write your stories. Share them with others. Your life is part of the History of Women.
A few reflective questions:
*Have you ever doubted that it was important for you to write a book or to share your stories in blogs, programs and social media posts?
*What does the critical voice inside your head tell you about why you shouldn’t share your stories?
*Write about why it’s important for you to share your stories. Tune in to your inner wisdom and see what surfaces.
What is the story you want to tell now?
If you want to explore writing as a process or you are working on a book or developing a program, the next Writing Incubator begins on April 1 with early bird pricing. Check it out! You don’t have to write your stories alone.
Andrea Hylen believes in the power of our voices to usher in a new world. She is the founder of Heal My Voice, an organization that inspires women to heal a story, reclaim personal power and step into greater leadership and the Writing Incubator, an on-line writing community with writing prompts and writing labs, for women. She is author of Heal My Voice: An Evolutionary Woman’s Journey.
Andrea discovered her unique gifts while parenting three daughters and learning to live life fully after the deaths of her brother, son and husband. She follows her intuition as she collaborates with women and men in organizations and travels around the world speaking, teaching and leading workshops. Her passion is authentically living life and coaching others to do the same. To connect with Andrea and learn about coaching, current projects and on-line writing circles go to: www.andreahylen.com and www.healmyvoice.org.