There’s a great quote that says, “When you write the story of your life, don’t let anyone else hold the pen.” Forget just holding the pen, people will try their hardest to wrench it from your hands and write your story entirely to their liking. Don’t let them.
Only YOU Write Your Story, Never Let Anyone Steal the Pen
I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, how we’ve reached this point in our society where we don’t allow anyone to hold their own pen. Every single day, in both big and small ways, we’re not just letting others write our stories for us, we’re doing the same to them. It seems like we’re all playing biographers to each other when we should be playing autobiographers to ourselves.
You don’t have to look far to see what I mean. Just post anything- even the most mundane thing- on social media post and you’ll see it in action. You can say “apples,” and another person will accuse you of saying “oranges.” Before long, everyone- including you- is fully convinced that you really did say “oranges.”
It seems like such a small thing, that example. Who cares if everyone thinks you said “oranges” instead of “apples,” right? Ultimately, it’s just words on a screen and it doesn’t affect your life. Except it does. In that small moment, that seemingly trivial moment, you’ve allowed someone else to rewrite your story to their narrative.
Worse, you’ve made it easier for others to keep doing it, to rewrite bigger parts of your story. See, once you let someone grab the pen- even if it’s just for a teeny-tiny second- it’s almost impossible to grab it back. They’ll pass it around. Play keep-away with it.
Before you know it, they’ll use it to write larger parts of your life’s tale. Your life becomes a biography written by people that don’t even know you. After all, not a single person on this earth knows your story better than you.
Don’t let your life become a biography when it should be an autobiography
Just like with a literal biography, when you let someone else write your story, your “audience” never actually gets the full real picture. Never gets to know the real you. Even someone with the best intentions and most skilled pen can’t capture all of the little things, the small nuances, that make you who you are.
Sadly, most people trying to write our stories don’t have the best intentions for us- or the most skilled pen, for that matter. No, they usually have very nefarious reasons for wanting the world to see us in a different way. An ex who wants to rewrite the story of your breakup. A sibling who wants your family to think YOU’RE the reason behind a feud. Even a stranger who wants the internet to think that you said something you didn’t.
So, you have to grab ahold of that pen with all of your might when someone tries to steal it. Hold on as tight as you can and write your own story. More importantly, write it the way YOU want, even if you think people will judge you for it.
The world will judge you no matter what, so write the story you want…
There’s a quote that goes, “The world is going to judge you no matter what you do, so live your life the way you want.” The same goes for writing your story. It’s not enough to just hold onto the pen; you alone have to decide what you want to add to your tale. Just like you should never justify the things that make you happy, you shouldn’t ever feel like you need to “edit” your life to fit someone else’s idea of what your narrative should be.
If you want to live a fairy tale story filled with knights in shining armor, go for it…even if the world says real feminists don’t need knights. If you want to live an adventure story, trotting around the globe in search of lost treasures, do it…even if the world says that it’s an “impractical” lifestyle. Heck, if you want to live a horror story filled with ghost hunting adventures, go for it…even if everyone says ghosts aren’t real.
The point is, you decide everything about your story. The characters, the setting, the genre, the tropes. Every single aspect of your story- your LIFE- is up to you. Don’t let anyone ever tell you otherwise. When you allow others to steal the pen, you become a supporting character in your own tale when you should be shining as the main character.
I’ll leave you with one last amazing quote (more like a poem, actually) by Stephanie Bennet-Henry, that really sums up everything I’m trying to get across here. It’s a long one, but so worth the read.
Now get out there and write your story! Keep your fist tight around that pen and tell the tale YOU want to tell. Be your own autobiographer.
Sheila Sydnes says
I have always wanted to share my life story. No one would believe the roads I’ve traveled and why s; not all are answered. But they all helped create this person I am today. I think some lost souls might find themselves in me. Might join in laughter with tears streaming from their eyes . Their hearts skipping a beat over a moment of suspense. Might bear their souls to find it again whole. Yes life live it or lose it.
john j duran says
I spent years in a loony bin as a boy, and was homeless 35 years across america, Imagine the amazing tales im telling! haha
Yes I want to tell my story but I. Dealing with time sensitive issues and critical issues and just dont have time to tell it right now.
Patricia McAllister says
I am just finishing 2 books of short stories about my path in life ,
Was amazed when I asked my adult daughter if she would like a copy, her reply, “Reading hurts my eyes.” Tet her eyes spend several hours per day on her cell phone.
Do hope this is an isolated experience, but I will not stop writing!
My pen in hand rules.
john j duran says
john j duran says
Im writing my autobiography about a truly extraordinary life, and all those ive known, since they are all long dead. Some readers have lovingly called it “the NEW Bible”. I was homeless for 35 years across ALL of america, so imagine what Ive been through. If curious, do a google search for “America the Poor: A Wanderer’s Tale” and try it. Its free, my legacy to the world.