“I’m Taking It Back!”: How to Wrestle Back Your Stolen Story
Wow! In the last few years I’ve worked with many authors where someone or something has stolen their voice. Sometimes, others have even stolen their life story narrative! What’s inspiring is when these authors decide to write a book to gain their power back.
Imagine a child kidnapped from Christianity and converted into Judaism, too young to understand her choices were robbed from her. Imagine the son of a killer whose narrative was stolen and written ‘for him’ when he was just a child. Imagine the 65th wife of a notorious extremist fundamentalist, whose choices were taken the moment she was forced into marriage.
These are all true and stolen stories. Will writing help the authors take their lives and stories back?
Yes. In spades.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I honestly believe the last reason to write a book is to be vindicated or validated. (Although that’s actually a gorgeous side-effect from writing a very good story!) But the truth is, a story written for any sort of vendetta, or “I’ll show them” is generally shallow in nature.
What is absolutely stunning, on the other hand, is when an author takes the time to understand themselves. . . to such a degree that they now have something significant and powerful to offer the world with their hard-earned, won-in-the-heat-of-battle wisdom.
WAHOOOO! This is when I know the author has become the master of their own story arc.
In order to get there, each of us has to be willing to dig deep, to own our foibles, to own the voices in our own heads as well as to recognize when, where and how our power was stolen--and perhaps for a time, even the direction of our lives manipulated because someone stole the story away.
As a very strong example, take Shauna Cuch, one of our authors who grew up in an independent polygamous community.. She was beaten as a baby just for crying, her story was rewritten for her in a family book without her permission, and . . . a large entertainment company used her story as the premise for their series, also without permission!
Can you imagine?
While working on her memoir, Shauna came to recognize just how much she needed to heal. She hit it straight on! Not willing to wait too long however, she worked on an inspirational self-help book called Big Souls Make Big Promises. It’s about her extraordinary healing journey and the work she does in an international modality called Family Constellations.
The writing even of this smaller book has been such a triumph for her because Shauna not only left polygamy, she traversed a breathtaking journey in healing relationships and families, becoming an internationally acclaimed healer who is sought out as a speaker and trainer in such places as Italy and France, as well as across the U.S.
Shauna’s book Big Souls Make Big Promises launched as an international bestseller, and I couldn’t be more proud! She has also gone back to work, committed to finishing her memoir. As a big soul, she is continuing to take back her own power, and her new book is shaping up to be a tremendous example of taking back your personal power.
How do I wrestle back my stolen story?
Choose to write a book. More than a blog or a series of interviews, a book forces you to see a greater period of time with stronger evidence of patterns, consequences.
Study the Hero’s Journey and refuse to acknowledge anything other than EPIC.
Learn how to write. . .and write well.
Publish your book. (Otherwise, no one else will benefit.)
Craft and speak your signature story, without “sorrys” and instead mightily owning your own perspective in the raw and vulnerable narrative.
Most important, find every occasion to use the power of your story to serve others.