Guest Piece: “The Power of Your Story”

Guest Writer
The Power of Your Story
By: Katlynn Goodsell
We all have a story. We have experiences that have shaped us into who we are. We have had people in and out of our lives that have left impacts on us that change the way we think, feel, and live. Each story is different, and that’s what makes it beautiful. Sometimes we forget that there are parts of our stories that are still unwritten and only we have the power to dictate how it ends.
As people it is so easy to become tunnel visioned and get into our own minds. We start to become selfish in thinking that people around us couldn’t possibly relate to anything we have gone through, or are going through. We have a difficult time digging deeper. But the more we do, the more we realize we aren’t that different from each other.
Growing up with Type 1 Diabetes, as well as a mom fighting cancer, I often felt alone. In my mind I always thought that no one around me could understand. Deep down I always knew that people did, I just wouldn’t let them. I grew up in a school that had multiple people with diabetes. Although as far as I knew, no one had a parent fighting cancer to the severity that my mom was, there were also people in my community who had lost parents at a young age. I just never reached out and let myself share my story and my struggles with others in order to create that connection.
As I have gotten older and technology has advanced more, I have realized that in some ways we are all much more connected because you are constantly updated on what people are doing. You can feel like you completely know someone without having to have an actual conversation with them. What I think a lot of people are lacking right now though is that ability to actually connect with people. To have meaningful conversations and relationships that go below the surface. We are all so afraid of being vulnerable that we rely on social media to make it seem like our lives are perceived in a certain way. 
The past few years of my life I have struggled more then I have in my entire life. I had a lot of change going on and was trying to adapt to a life that made me feel robbed of all freedom and confidence. People looking at my social media would have had no idea that some of those days were the darkest I had faced in my life. Social media didn’t show the multiple mental breakdowns I had where all I could do was just sob. Social media didn’t show the amount of weight I felt or the nights when I tried to make sense of everything. Social media only shows what we want people to see. It only shows the highlights of our lives. Yet somehow this seems to be the main way that we all communicate?
I have always thought that social media has been a great thing. It may not sound like it but it has always been a sort of outlet for me. I have always been a creative person and I love the way you can share your life with people in a way that reflects your personality. I remember spending hours on the computer in middle school designing my MySpace package and making it feel like my little corner of the internet. So in no way am I here to sit and bash it all because it has so many great benefits. What I am here to say is that we all need to start talking to each other. As hard as it may be we should be talking about the things going on in our lives, or the things that we have experienced that  we may want to avoid. Because if I have learned anything, its that there is something beautiful about the strength that is gained from a struggle, and a power in sharing and connecting with others about it.
I would be lying if I said telling my story was an easy thing for me to do, because its not. It requires vulnerability and a lot of emotional energy. What I have realized though is that the more times you tell your story, the more power it will have. You never know the kind of impact you will have on other people. You never know who might be experiencing something similar to you or who might think until the moment you spoke up, they thought they were alone.
As people, I know we are afraid of exposing the parts of our lives that we might have the most shame around. We think that if people figure us out they might look down on us, or perceive us in a negative way. If I have learned anything though its that whenever I have had the courage to open up, I am for the most part pleasantly surprised by the reactions of the people around me. It always gives me peace to share it after because it releases some of the built up anxiety I have about hiding it or worrying what people will think.
We all have an amazing story to tell. We all have emotions, and we all have parts of us that we may feel shamed of. That’s the thing though, we ALL have them, its what makes us human. Its easy to put other people on a pedestal and think that they have it all together, when in reality none of us do. We all are just trying to figure out this thing we call life and do it the best we can.  Everyone has a power in them, and that power is their story. Don’t underestimate the impact you can have on someone’s life by sharing it.
Thank you Katlynn for these honest, vulnerable, and authentic words. The whole reason this blog was formed was so that I could be transparent about the stories, issues, and victories going on in my life. I wanted to share my TRUTH. Thank you for sharing yours so eloquently!
Make sure to FOLLOW Katlynn on Instagram @katlynnshelly and read more of her amazing words at Forever and Always, Katlynn.

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