I’m Bursting at the Seams with Stories Untold
I’ve been writing a lot, but have I really said anything?
I’ve been writing a lot lately.
I’ve been writing this regular newsletter. I’ve been writing over on Medium. I’ve been writing emails to clients. Responding to letters from readers. Experimenting with poetry when the mood strikes.
But I’m not sure I’ve said a whole lot.
Taking a look at some of my recent work, I’ve noticed a pattern. Much of my writing seems to be written for someone else. Over time I’ve learned what my readers are looking for and do my best to oblige. I’ve learned what my patrons are looking for and do my best to oblige.
I see titles like: “5 Habits of …”, “10 Things I Learned About…”, and “6 Ways to Become Better at …”.
While stories like these have made a splash, I can’t help but feel somewhat muzzled. I believe I’m meant to explore beyond the average listicle or “How To” article. The world doesn’t need another “5 Ways to be More Productive in the Morning” piece.
The stories I really want to tell get shoved down to the depths of my soul where they fester and smolder and cry out for help.
I’m bursting at the seams with stories untold.
Let’s suppose, for a moment, I could write about anything.
The shackles have been cut. I’m bound only by the limits of time and space and my own imagination.
Maybe I would begin at the beginning. Maybe I would write about our first house on the outskirts of town. About the apple tree and the poison ivy and the dandelions in Spring. About learning to ride a bike and experiencing freedom for the first time. About meeting my two younger sisters and our family becoming whole. About first tasting unbridled joy when Santa delivered exactly what I asked for.
Maybe I would write about the hazy, fleeting memories of childhood. Of my grandparents’ house and that one chair that rocked just right. Of the great outdoors that could barely contain one little boy’s playful delights. Of the family trips that took us across the world. Of the friends I made and beds left unmade.
Maybe I would write about my mother and father and how much I love them. About my sisters and how much I admire them. About my grandfather and aunts and uncles and cousins and brother-in-law and how much I respect them. About my grandmas and how amazing they were.
I think I would tell those stories.
If I were to write my whole history, I would skip parts of my 20s. I would skip the alcohol abuse and petty acts of vandalism. I would skip the utter disinterest, insensitivity and apathy I showed toward most things (and people). I would skip the self-inflicted turmoil in my early career.
I would skip my rather sudden and head-first descent into anxiety and depression. I would skip talking about how low I felt. How little I slept. How deep my madness was. How sad I became. How hard it was to climb out of a hole you know you dug for yourself.
But I would write about what happened next.
About how I turned my life around. Where I lived, where I worked, who I associated with, how I spent my free time. About embracing sobriety and prioritizing sleep and learning to eat vegetables.
About reconnecting with distance running, my greatest love, and how it saved me from the depths of myself. How running for the joy of running is better than setting a new personal best or finishing first. How racing the sun and seeing a sunrise over calm water can transform the way you think about, well, everything.
About how happiness is found in the cracks. Driving with the windows down on a winding road. Listening to music that sends shivers down your spine. Watching an artist completely lose themselves in their craft. Doing something nice for someone without expecting anything in return. Spending time and energy on projects and passions you love.
About finding my purpose. How it’s purpose that grants lasting meaning, not power or status or wealth. How knowing my purpose makes it easier to get out of bed in the morning, to work hard and to put my heart and soul into what I choose to do. How I finally feel comfortable in my own skin.
Yes, I’m sure I’d write about that.
If I could write about anything I wanted, I’d write stories like these.
These are stories I’ve kept for years like secrets. The ones I’ve never dared put to paper because I was scared of what others might think.
If I could write stories like these, I might find other people who have similar stories. I would tell them it’s ok, don’t shy away. There is much happiness to be had. Peace to be found.
Yes, if I were to tell these stories, I think I’d start at the beginning. So let’s pretend this is the beginning.
I’ve got lots of stories to tell.
Scott Mayer is a runner, thinker, curious observer and certified personal trainer. Visit the In Fitness And In Health website for ebooks, training plans, consulting options and additional content.