We all have a story that shapes our sense of self and defines who we are in the world. That story is made up of a lot of elements: the things you’ve done, the people you’ve met, the joys and pains you’ve experienced, the abuse you’ve given and received, your thoughts, values, memories, and dreams. You stitch all this raw material into a vast, cohesive tapestry: that’s your story.
Your story is always changing. You write it as you live, but more than that, you are shaping it with your mind, consciously or unconsciously. Because you have the right to your own self-identity, why not make it positive? In order to own your story, you must be honest with yourself about where you’ve been in your life and accept yourself the way you are right now. When you take ownership of your story, you won’t need anyone else’s approval and that, my friends, is freedom.
Put another way; your life is like a movie in which you’re the star, the writer, the director, and the gopher who fetches coffee. However, when you let outsiders dictate who you are in your own movie, things can go south. It’s pure insanity how many people play a part that isn’t even meant for them, just because they don’t own their story.
That was me, all because I absorbed an outside narrative that being gay was somehow bad and wrong. It started in childhood, and it stuck with me as I got older. I had “internalized homophobia”—in other words, I had allowed other people’s negative stories to be my own, and I felt ashamed. That shame ran so deep that I didn’t even realize it controlled my life.
You can’t be happy, nor can you step into your personal and creative power until you own your story. If your story is churning full of shame, fear, regret, and self-rejection, you aren’t writing it; you’re letting it “be written.” Unfortunately, many of us let others define us instead of writing the story ourselves.
One of the core practices of Hilarapy—and one of the most life-changing experiences you can get from comedy and therapy combined—is learning how to accept who you are and be confident and happy in your own skin by reclaiming your story. It’s something I do myself through therapeutic exercises and, of course, comedy, which is an art form well suited to shining a light on uncomfortable truths.
What can you do today to write your own your story?