what’s your story?

I was reading an article earlier today about Vanessa Bryant, Kobe Bryant’s wife. She’s seldom in the limelight or speaks to the press but the interview that I was reading today was one of the few she’s given. In the middle of her story she began to talk about how she wouldn’t like to be married to someone who doesn’t win championships. She went on to reason that when you’re sacrificing birthdays, holidays, dance recitals and quality time with your family in order to play basketball games you better be winning and you better be bringing home some rings because if not, its not worth sacrificing time to spend with the ones you love that you’ll never get back. Despite the many layers to her claim, Twitter users world wide clung to one layer and ran with it, claiming that Vanessa Bryant is a gold digger for claiming that “she would not like to be married to someone who does not win championships.” Given her high profile status and filthy rich context, what she said was pretty grounded. Given her context, her claim makes sense and so does the way that she went about explaining herself.

Its funny how we cling to only one side of a story. The side that’s most convenient for our pride, fears or insecurities to tell.

There’s this up-and-coming singer of whom I’m a big fan, named Kehlani. She was dating a fellow up-and-coming rapper but they broke up. It was a fairly significant and life changing experience for both of them but apparently the timing wasn’t right. Shortly after they break up, Kehlani begins dating an NBA basketball player and their union seems to be a fairy tale. Kehlani is sharing on social media how in love she is and her significant other is doing the same. She shares how he met her when she was in a dark place and felt unlovable and how he helped her believe in love again. A few months into their union, Kehlani and her new boyfriend discontinue professing their love for one another on social media for a couple of weeks. After these weeks pass, Kehlani’s first boyfriend–the up-and-coming rapper–posts an image of himself and Kehlani in bed together with a caption suggesting that the two have gotten back together. The internet goes crazy and begins making assumptions that Kehlani cheated on her current boyfriend with her ex, calling Kehlani a whore and many other names other than the one given at her birth. People began questioning Kehlani’s integrity and completely turned on her. Later on we find out that Kehlani and her basketball player beau broke up a while ago, that she did not cheat on anyone and that she’s still a person of integrity. We also find out that her mental health was at the time unstable and that she’s going through a hard time.

Why do we fill in the blanks with fear and negativity? We fill in the silence with stories that are convenient for our pride, fears and insecurities to tell.

There’s a Ted Talk by one of my favorite story tellers Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie titled “The Danger of a Single Story” in this Ted Talk Chimamanda highlights how catastrophic it is that the stories that are told about world history are single sided. She illustrates how the stories told by American historians about Africans are filled with fear, insecurity and the need to feel better than and how these stories have defined her interactions with many Americans. Chimamamanda was raised by a typical middle class Nigerian family. During her Ted Talk, she shared a story: while a child and still living in Nigeria, Chimamanda’s families cleaning lady had to discontinue her services with them and subsequently her mother brought in a young man from a low-income area to replace their old house keeper. The only story that Chimamamanda’s mother told her about the young man was that “he and his family are poor.” One day Chimamanda and her family took their house keeper to visit his family. Upon their arrival the families greeted one another and began to become acquainted. Chimamanda noticed that their housekeepers mother could sew these extravagant and beautiful fabrics from scratch, that their family was very happy and laughter filled their home during the entirety of their visit. Chimamanda felt completely guilty after her family went back home. It never occurred to her the her house keepers family may have talent, skill and even joy! When her house keepers family were merely “poor” they were no longer human to her.

It’s so tempting to allow insecurity to tell our story, and to allow fear to fill in the silence of the unknown. By doing so, however, the only person we do a disservice to is our self. By doing so we are merely feeding ourselves simple minded lies and foregoing the opportunity to live a life of trust, peace and contentment. The stories that we tell ourselves of the happenings of our experiences are what become of our lives. The stories that we tell ourselves about experiences and circumstances are not THE truth, but instead, merely our interpretation. I’ve taken the time recently to dissect the stories that I’ve been telling myself about scenarios that have taken place in my life, and the themes are very consistent and also very telling. What stories are you telling yourself about your life? That would be a great topic to journal about 🙂

-Amber B

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