Just like no one should write YOUR story, you shouldn’t try to write theirs. As Betty White said, “Just mind your own business, take care of your own affairs, and don’t worry about other people so much.” Let’s talk about that, shall we?
Mind Your Own Business & Stop Writing Other People’s Stories
Last week we talked about how important it is to write your own story and never let anyone steal the pen. That goes both ways, though. We really need to stop trying to steal everyone else’s pens so we can rewrite their stories to fit our narrative. We’re all guilty of it, although some more than others.
I know the timing makes it seem that way, but I want to make it very clear that this isn’t about politics at all. Seriously, whatever you think it’s about, it’s not. I’m not calling anyone out here, because like I said, we all do it to some capacity.
We all have a strange tendency to act like we own everyone else’s story, that we have some sort of inalienable right to write it as we see fit.
Look, your story is yours to write. Mine is mine. Yes, sometimes, our stories do Shonda Rhimes-style crossover events. Ultimately, though, you’re living a completely different life than I am, and vice-versa.
Our stories may do crossover events, but mine is still mine & yours is still yours
Let’s roll with that Shonda reference because it illustrates this point perfectly. Don’t worry, you don’t have to be a fan to understand what I’m about to say. All you really need to know is this: as of right now, she has two major shows airing on ABC, Grey’s Anatomy and Station 19.
Every so often, a story starts on one show and ends in another. Now, say you usually only watch Grey’s Anatomy. A crossover event happens, and you want to what happens in the other half, so you watch Station 19 just that one time. It’s easy to follow the main crossover plot because it was introduced in YOUR story.
However, there are all of these other things happening outside of that. References to events that took place in other episodes, characters that you don’t even know, plotlines that have been running since the pilot episode that you can’t follow.
Basically, aside from the very small part of the story that started in your own show, you’re totally lost and clueless.
Life, like a Shonda show, is a crossover event. Sometimes you pop into my story. Sometimes I pop into yours. Ultimately, though, we’re each living in our own show. We each have our own dramas, cast of characters, backstories, and plotlines. Neither of us can fully know what’s happening on the other’s show unless we were part of it from the beginning AND watched every episode, so to speak.
If my show isn’t hurting your ratings, mind your own business
You know how I love a good metaphor, so let’s stick with this TV show a bit longer. If my life, my story, my show isn’t hurting yours, mind your own business. If the things I do, the way I choose to live my life, how I parent my kids, what I eat or don’t eat…pretty much every aspect of my life…isn’t actually causing real harm to others, let me tell my story the way I want. In return, I’ll give you the same respect.
Let’s go back to the TV show example. Again, imagine you only watch Grey’s Anatomy. Now imagine over on Station 19, the story this week is about a couple getting married. Based on the ten minutes worth of their story you saw during the crossover event you decide that you don’t really like the couple.
Do you a) demand that the network either pull the show or change the story to fit what YOU want, knowing full well that you still won’t be watching it anyway or b) just go on with your life because that story isn’t affecting yours?
If you answered A, my friend, you need to go reread that Betty White quote way up there in the intro, or this one below.
If my story DOES actually hurt yours, by all means, call me out
If what I do actually does affect you or hurt someone, then of course you have a right to call me out, to intervene. No one should hurt others, either physically or mentally. No one has a right to threaten someone else’s life, health, or general well-being.
Likewise, if you’re watching a loved one’s tale go from lighthearted rom-com to a horror movie, go ahead and grab their pen, try to help them rewrite their story.
For everything else, though, unless I invite you onto my show, mind your own business. Write your own story and let me write mine. I promise I’ll give you the same respect in return.