It is tempting to tell happy stories, to bend our lives into pleasing shapes and end them with happily ever after, but these stories, though well-meant often do more harm than good. They isolate us, shame us, silence us.
Here is a story: I hosted thanksgiving dinner at my apartment. Friends from near and far joined me, each bringing a dish to share.
On social media this story is a picture of me trussing the turkey and another of two dogs begging, a recipe for cranberry sauce, a joke about tryptophan-induced comas.
The true story is a bit more uncomfortable. The day before the holiday I get into an argument with my boyfriend. It’s not a new fight, but it sends me into a crippling bout of flash-back fueled anxiety. I’m so anxious that even playful disputes between my two canine guests leave me shaking and anxious. I stay busy because I know that if I let myself process the whole dinner will fall apart and I want desperately not to ruin the day for myself or any of my guests. I cook, and play hostess, and the guests come, but instead of enjoying the meal I critique and criticize myself. I am frustrated with everything that isn’t just how I planned, just what I wanted. I hide how I feel as well as I can and hope that no one can tell I’m not at my best.
There is nothing particularly compelling or noteworthy about this story, but it illustrates the dissonance between our lives and our stories, between the narratives that we tell and our authentic experience.
We need to return to the truth, to tell stories that matter. I believe that the upcoming Women’s March on Washington (https://www.womensmarch.com/) is a story that needs to be told, which is why I’ve signed on as the producer of a film documenting the event, Hear Our Voice.
Hear Our Voice is not just the story of one person’s perspective on the march, it’s a story of diverse perspectives. We are seeking footage from people attending the march and those who cannot attend. We are seeking true stories about women’s issues, inequalities, and injustices. We need your help. Learn how you can get involved https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/hear-our-voice-a-documentary/x/15560188.