There are some stories, and Shannon the Underdog Atlanta Online Dating Girl was one of them, that become a stuck/repeating tape loop. When...
People travel all the time. Maybe less so these days, but it’s just something that happens a lot, for personal and professional reasons. Can’t tell you how many times I see on dating profiles that a potential partner will judge you as unqualified if you don’t have enough passport stamps.
There once was an island made up of seven kingdoms, evenly divided by high rock walls that emanated from the center of the island and ran all the way to the sea (kinda like a giant Trivial Pursuit piece). Unfortunately, there was no source of fresh drinking water on the island. Each kingdom hated and feared the next.
The first time it happened, it was really unplanned. I was twelve. My best friend had thrown me over for cooler girls. There I sat at home on a Friday night, not at a slumber party with the rest of them. So, I invited Loneliness over to hang out. Always so obliging, so eager, that Loneliness. Unlike me, she never begrudged being the substitute friend when there was no one better or more interesting to fill the social calendar.
Despite all that, my most visceral memory from that year will always be sitting in a car on a cold, rainy, fall afternoon with the mother of one of the shooting victims. We formed a friendship during that season and had gone out to a local school to talk about resilience. When we got back in the car to leave, she checked her voicemail, had gotten a call from her son who was refusing to go to school. Again
In my curriculum where I teach people how to cultivate and tell their own stories, an approach I affectionately call, ‘The Story Sandwich,’ I always refer to the importance of finding the change in our storytelling. I call it the meat (or spicy tofu) of the sandwich. In workshops, I break out these two figures side-by-side and talk about that moment in English class when they would talk us about the “beginning-middle-end” of a story (blah-blah-blah), and especially “exposition-climax-denoument” (again: blah-blah-blah).