Be honest now. Are your stories boring?

Life Design Action: Be honest. Are your stories boring?

Requires: Your stories (this includes your moans, your complaints, your blockages, your failures).

Does not require: Disney. I hate Disney. Sorry Disney lovers, but it is true. I’m sure the Waltster was nice enough as a person, but I don’t like how his animations portray women. I also never liked Micky Mouse’s voice. Or the fact that Donald looked like he was wearing a nappy. So.

***

A Story About Self Honesty and Boring Stories (oh – before we begin sorry that I have been so utterly absent in The House Of Bethan lately. I have many excuses, stories, reasons why etc, but that can wait. For now, however … Sorry. And I love you.)

OK – A Story About Self Honesty and Boring Stories

I was sitting on the Goddess Fosbury’s sofa, surrounded by her myriad cushions and drinking a cup of camomile tea when The Conversation happened.

Opening Question (FG): “What is happening with the house?”

Me: “Well …”

And so I began to tell her The Nest story.

Again.

Because, do not be mistaken, the Fosbury Goddess has heard this story many a time.

But I know that YOU haven’t heard the story so, unless you are a friend who knows me in my day-life (and if you are you may want to skip the next bit) I’ll quickly fill you in.

So.

To have a blog is an interesting thing. There are certain things one feels that one can talk about. And there are certain things that one feels one can’t. One of the things I have remained quiet about is the situation around my marriage, my divorce and my home. You see, since my marriage ended – which is coming up to two years ago – the agreement was that our beautiful birds nest would be sold and the profits split equally and then both of us would fly off in our own separate ways.

That was the logical agreement.

The heart stuff was a different matter.

We were both reeling from the break up.

The children were heart broken. The house was a broken home. Looking back, even the Nest itself was like a creature, shocked and distraught. After all, a family had moved in and kept her warm and alive and now … NOW she was now to be abandoned.

But at the time there was no other choice.

So I tidied up.

I tucked things away.

I polished the sides and I put the Nest on the Housing Market.

The Housing Market looked at me blankly. He muttered, “Don’t you KNOW I’m dead? There’s a recession on. Duh. If you think your selling your nest, you are living in cloud cuckoo land.”

I looked blankly back and tried to say something.

No words came out.

The Housing Market then rolled his eyes and in a small gesture of generosity, sent a couple of Potential Buyers to snoop around. For the next six months strangers came in and out, poking around in cupboards and having things falling on their heads. At first I stayed to support the Nest through her auditions, but after a while I couldn’t bear it and would go and sit in a café and bite my nails.

Reality was/is, that I loved the Nest so much and I didn’t want to leave her, but I knew I couldn’t stay.

Over the slow months, me, Pix and Roo lived in our lofty home with a sense of limbo and awkwardness. No one knew where they stood. The place felt like a train station, an impermanent platform with adults and children passing through. The Nest began to grow this weird mildew stuff around the farmhouse sink. I bleached it away but didn’t have the heart to fix the cause. One day I returned from a trip to find that the barge board had fallen from one side of the house and was lying pathetically on the gravel drive way. It was then that I realised that the place was falling to pieces.

Who would want to buy a little cottage who was so heartbroken that she was falling to bits?

The only answer was to take the Nest off the market and repair her over the summer even if our combined hearts did feel as heavy as a sea sponge abandoned in the bath.

I did this.

Then I put her back on The Housing Market.

This time The Housing Market turned lazily, picked his tooth with a cocktail stick and yawned “you do realise it will take about two years to sell? The market is deader than a dodo.”

“I’ve got no choice,” I shrugged.

The Market rolled his baggy eyes, sighed impatiently, then went back to picking his teeth.

The following stalemate was suffocating.

Pix, Roo, the Nest and I  were all trapped in a wire birdcage of circumstance in a Housing Market that was dead, with no way to move. And this was where I now stood.

The End.

This was the story. As I completed the last sentence – again – Fosbury Goddess got up. She walked into her little conservatory where the cat walked over the corrugated plastic every night and sounded as though a tiger was prowling the rooftop.

She opened the door, leaned out as if needing a big breath of fresh air, then called over her shoulder … “So what happens? What happens at the end? Because this story is getting bloody boring now!”

I sat on the sofa.

Frowned.

Looked sideways.

Boring?

My story was getting boring?

What?

I am a writer …. My stories CAN NOT be boring. And anyway. This wasn’t a story. This was real life. Realrealrealreal annoying Real Life.

“It’s really boring,” declared the Fosbury Goddess, billowing back into the room and bringing with her the fresh air of her magical courtyard. “You need to get this cleared up and tied up asap or we’re all going to bloody well die of boredom.”

It was probably the funniest, most generous thing I’ve ever heard.

One bit of Honesty from a friend who has listened to us telling our stories againandagainandagainandagain … can be the exact tonic we need to end it, break it, recreate it.

A new page gets turned.

A new ending can be written.

Pheerrrrrrr-ewwwwwww.

And so I began to write the final chapter.

I returned to the Isle of Wight, went to see a mortgage advisor and pretended to know what she was talking about until finally I did sort of get it. I found out whether it was possible to take out money from the equity to pay everyone off, securing the Nest as mine. It was possible but the new repayments on the mortgage were beyond what I could afford.

Instead of having the door crunched shut in my face, I picked up my mental biro and began scribbling out new questions … “how can I get this story to some sort of happy ending? Who can help me? What other pathways could be possible.”

This chick then showed up.

Nezha

Remember Nezha?

The moment me and Nezha hooked up, something shifted in the very guts of Planet Earth. I stepped into warrior mode. My warrior arms went around Nest and my warrior voice told her, “we’re not going anywhere.” Then I began to fix her and clean her and buy her cushions and toasters and a coffee machine. I swept all the cobwebs from her corners, whispering, whispering, “we’re not going anywhere, we’re not going anywhere …”

And all the while I existed in this bubble of determined thanks to the Big Fat Universe Mama for giving us the power to tell our stories and make up new ones. It kept occurring to me again and again that the questions we ask, decisions we make, actions we take … all design the destinies we want to form. Not long after this, a fairy godmother was delivered to me by email or text (I can’t remember quite which one) and brought with her the magic for the Nest to be secured.

It was a strange, powerful, moment.

A moment of trust and love and gratitude and relief all combined in Niagra Falls thunder of force.

Now the Nest is on the brink of being ours and a massive lesson has been learned.

Write your stories well!!

What we tell ourselves, what we tell people, how we narrate our own narrative is like weaving a tapestry of reality.

We Are The Tellers. So let’s not be boring.

(What are YOUR stories? What do you tell yourself about your life – what is possible and what is impossible? What stories do you tell about your childhood, your parents, your experiences? Do you have those stories make you a super hero or do you like to write yourself as the victim?

Do you believe you are no longer creating exciting stories for your future? Because whether you believe that or not – you are always telling your own story, creating and weaving. If you believe you’ve stopped weaving … perhaps your story needs a bit of adventure thrown in. 

And finally, if you are a friend who has listened to someone repeating their story againandagainandagain maybe it is time to tell them that their story has become stuck and that in truth, its getting boring. 

Cruel?

Perhaps.

But be sure – it might just be the medicine for a happy ending.) 

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17 thoughts on “Be honest now. Are your stories boring?

  1. Hey hon,
    was that the extended reply to my mail? Feels like it, because I am unbelievably bored by MY story for a long while now… Trying to find new ways of telling my life, but get stuck again and again. So- this post is a perfect reminder on how to change and I’ll send you details in private soon (and hopefully I won’t bore YOU with that).
    Love you!!!

    • Hahaha, an extended reply? No no no! We all get hooked and wrapped up in our stories. Reminds me of a playful cat who attacks some rainbow wool and before she knows it is all tangled up and can’t seem to get her paws free. First step: recognise it is a story you are telling yourself. Next step: have yourself be the hero, not the victim. Final step: get out your knitting needles and make a rainbow scarf/blanket/whatever. Love you loads too. xx

  2. Whew, its lovely watching said little cottage come alive again. It has made me think you can actually write your own stories if you really want to can’t you! I had forgotten that little lesson in life. This week is a biggie for said lovely neighbours so send love and that little warrior lady my way to borrow please!

    • Hello Debs, yes – the Nest is quite the hive of activity. If you could hear/see the craziness that is currently in the room above my head at the moment your eyes would pop out of your head. I have retreated away from the plasterer, plastic sheeting and scaffolding planks and made All Them Up There a fresh vegetable juice. Have you ever seen a plasterer drink organic beetroot, carrot, lettuce, tomato and ginger juice then nod and declare “Whoa, that was lovely. A proper power up?” I just have!! Massive luck for your London trip and you are welcome to borrow Nezha for as long as you like. xx

  3. Another lovely piece Bethan! Thank you!
    Your blogs always make me think and ‘ground’ me really.
    Is this like a self fulfilling prophecy? Carrying on with the same old story will bring about the same old results, one chapter after another. Can’t think how to re-write some of my stories though…yet?… 🙂 It reminded me to think about a couple of your other blogs – today’s you doing something good for tomorrow’s you; and the pearl necklace and stepping onto your “future nows” 🙂

    Love, C xxx

    • C, you say that these blogs make you think and ground you – well, if only you could know how energizing and reconnecting it is to have you and Gallivanta and Andy and Janin and Lizzie and everyone else come here and communicate. This House is practically an international Haven of gorgeousness. Yes – stories are a self fulfilling prophesy but it is the way in which we tell them that has us either break free or remain trapped.

      Take for example a person who was emotionally and physically abused as a child. They can wrap themselves up in the belief that because this happened they are destined for bad things. They are unworthy. And yes, they have a great story to fall back on as to why they attracted the wrong man. Why they did what they did. Why they think what they think. And it becomes like a script, a drama, an unravelling play and so their his-story/ her-story holds them.

      Take the same person – abused as a child yet they start to tell a story of survival. “I got through it. I came out alive. I was strong. I was resilient. I still AM resilient. I used what person did to me to help others; I share what I learnt from that; I overcame it and I made a difference. Yes it happened. It hurt. But now I choose to love myself so much more. That experience was the raw material for everything I do today. And today I am. I AM.”

      Same experience. Different narrative. Different result.

      What do you reckon the first step is to unravelling your stories?
      xxx

  4. I think the first step is accepting that your past stories can’t be re-written. Then accepting what’s not in your control.
    I’m a ‘cup half full’ person so maybe it’s about putting a positive slant on what’s in your future, don’t give up, and figure out possibilities?
    Is that too complicated? What would your first step be? It seemed that it just happened for you? Am I missing the point?!
    Xxx

    • Hello my darling.

      Errr, no you are not missing the point. At All.

      You are right in that the facts about What Happened can not be rewritten. Next step is knowing that while some stuff is out of your control, what you do control/influence is your response the facts. You can literally choose to interpret them however you like. The girl who I referred to yesterday (physically and emotionally abused) was me. If you knew some of the stuff I then did FOLLOWING that abusive childhood (whilst using all my bad childhood stories as an excuse) your toes would curl.

      Alongside a bit of recreational self-destruct, I created a very believable story about how I’d dropped out of school because of my dysfunctional family. Then I made another story about the fact I could never get a good job that paid well because I didn’t have an education. After that I told myself this story about how I could never be a success on the Isle Of Wight, because all successful people live in London, right? They were very well considered, beautifully crafted stories. The pay-off was that a)I never had to try and b)I didn’t have to fear failure/rejection. But at the same time I was stuck.

      Then, one day I got bored with my own bullshit and decided that maybe I COULD go to University. I applied for a Masters in Writing at Winchester. Result. I got in. I geared up all summer for this course. The night before I was due to begin, I was just getting into bed when the phone rang. It was my mum. Crying. To say that the police had been to her home and that my brother was dead. He’d had been murdered – shot dead – on a street in Buenos Aires. The following phase was like white noise for the soul. We went to Argentina to have him cremated and to try and pull together some story as to what had happened that afternoon, so our reeling minds could rationalise it.
      Then we came back.
      This is when my stories changed.
      See, I’d never have believed something like this would happen to my brother. This stuff happened in America. Or in films. Yet it HAD happened. What I believed was absurdly impossible WAS ACTUALLY possible. And that when I started to think, well, if that “impossible-ness” is possible, then all the positive “impossible-ness” must also be possible.

      And it was through this experience that my stories changed. To be honest, all my stories of shit self esteem came from the childhood I’d spent with my brother – who was now dead. es, the old facts remained the same, but now the impossible was possible and I was ready to create the most sensational future-enactment that my imagination could come up with.

      So, it appears I may have massively gone off on one here, C!
      I hope I haven’t made it any more complicated because lets face it – no one needs a flippin death in the family to shake them awake.
      Essentially, I’d just say BELIEVE that your Impossibly Beautiful Future is 100% Possible; have such absolute belief in your gorgeous SELF that there isn’t even a possibility of giving up; don’t waste time on figuring out possibilities – challenge possibility with your most limitless dreams and show everyone else just how sensational a human being’s story can be. xxx

  5. Wow, what an absolutely extraordinary story, Bethan, and thank you so much for sharing it! The way you write makes even this subject matter come across as wonderful! I don’t know how you do it but I’m so glad that you do.
    It doesn’t make it more complicated, less so actually – I’ve thought about it all day (OK so it meant that I wasn’t as productive at work as usual but hey!).

    I suppose we all use our childhood to explain (or excuse) what we are and what we do. And I thought that was OK till I was a parent myself. I didn’t have the same childhood as you – I can now see exactly why my parents did what they did. I’ve not done it the same way as them and I can’t say that I’ve been any more successful! As parents we do what we can at the time, and hope! But we can still use stories like yours to make a difference for them now – I know that eventually they’ll all grow into wonderful adult human beings 🙂
    As for me, the first step would then be to BELIEVE and then challenge those possibilities – how energising! 🙂 Life is short, life is fun, and life’s possibilities are for discovering – only we can do that for ourselves 🙂

    Thanks again, and much love, xxx

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