Thinking more about the contents of my last post and the thoughtful comments that were made on it, I remembered this poem I had written a few years ago, a little meditation on my tussles with Stories A and B in my own life:
In the springtime of your life
When people make pronouncements
About the heights to which you’ll rise
Someone has a prophecy
Someone says you’re chosen
Don’t tuck it away for later
No, hold that sign up high
Wave that banner with all you’ve got
And go, girl, go
Because a well-preserved ticket
Is useless after the show
And no one cares to hear
About your might-have-beens.
(On the other hand,
An awakening 34-year-old
Is a powerhouse of presence.)
As I mentioned in conversation with Jodi’s comment on the previous post, I think that when I recognize my Story B, it won’t feel like I am “settling” for second-best, although it may look exactly like that to an outside observer.
In my case, I started chasing Story A as a twenty-something singer/songwriter recording my first album in a professional studio in a skyscraper in downtown Minneapolis, financed by two benefactors who saw big things in my future.
Looking back on that over ten years later when I wrote this poem, I mused about how I didn’t work hard enough to actualize Story A. But you can see the seeds of Story B beginning to sprout in the last sentence.
And far from feeling like I’m settling, I feel more deeply alive.
I’ve still not fully elaborated my Story B to my satisfaction, but I feel like I am getting closer. Letting go of other people’s storylines for me, and picking up the threads that are actually there, the real living story of me that can actually be woven into something true and substantial. It may not be big and flashy, but it will be utterly valuable.
So there you go, a little case study for you, my own working out this life-story thing. To paraphrase Stephen Colbert, “I am a Story B (and so can you!)”