An Introvert’s Guide to Sharing Your Story
I enjoy hearing or reading people’s stories. When we give a story the time and space to be told, we are affirming the significance of the story teller’s experience. Sharing our stories is an incredible way to encourage each other through the more challenging seasons of life.
Blogging has been a therapeutic way for me to share my story. It’s a convenient way for me to process my experiences with text and photographs. I am thankful for each of my readers and the ways you have encouraged me to keep sharing my unfolding story.
After Keith died, I felt a strong sense that I needed to agree to every opportunity to share my story. I didn’t think much of it until a writer from The Day newspaper approached me to write a piece on my half marathon training and the connection between running and grieving. I enjoyed sitting down with her and telling my story and looked forward to seeing what I expected to be a short bit buried in a mid-week edition of the sports section.
When it became clear this would be an extensive article and the paper decided to do a video interview as well, I regretted agreeing to any interview. Sharing my story from the comfort of my own home and in writing was one thing, but trusting other people to tell my story felt like an overwhelming burden. With each passing day, before the article and video were published, my nerves wound tighter.
I hadn’t told many people the article and video were coming out, so I knew it was going to be a surprise for many. What surprised me was seeing our faces above the fold on the front of the sports section and in an article that lasted several pages. I was surprised at how much of me was featured in the video. As I’ve been telling my story, I never really considered that it was about me. My story is about Keith and it’s about our kids. It’s my story to tell, but I feel more like the story teller than the main character.
I’ve never wanted to crawl in a corner and hide quite so much as in the last two weeks. The introvert in me was screaming to tell them not to publish – I wanted to take it all back and keep my story to myself. I was not ready or willing for the attention.
I wanted everyone to pretend as if they hadn’t seen the article, but I also wanted people to see it and be convicted that they could face their own unique challenges. I practiced my deep breathing and reminded my introvert self that the attention would fade and I could retreat back to my quiet life eventually.
After spending two days as the most read article on the newspaper’s website, the excitement over the article began to wane. Just as I was comfortably returning to anonymity, one of the major news stations contacted me, wishing to do a piece as well. A well known company shared my story on their social media pages. My story continues to be shared, whether I like it or not.
To my fellow introverts: as much as we’d like to remove ourselves from our stories, we can’t. I can’t tell my story and also omit my role in it. We must choose to be brave and confident (even if we feel as if we are pretending), because our stories are worth sharing.
As I watched the video, I barely recognized myself. I expected to see a young, twenty something woman, weary from the seemingly endless days of raising two small kids. Instead, I saw steady confidence in my eyes that I had never seen before. My story is changing me in ways I hadn’t realized or anticipated.
This weekend, when I run a half marathon in Keith’s memory, my story will continue to unfold. New chapters are being written as the hours, days, and weeks pass. I am learning to allow my story to be shared and have been honored at the care with which other people are choosing to tell it.
I am not interested in any publicity or attention, but I hope that my story would encourage each of you to keep living and sharing and building authentic community (even if it means getting a bit uncomfortable).
Would you take a moment to help me share my story?
- Support Team #RunLikeKeith
- Share what it means to #RunLikeKeith
- Read and share the article or video about my journey with someone who may need reassurance that grief is difficult, but there are many of us who understand
UPDATE: view and share the WFSB Better Connecticut segment
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