Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Addicted to your story

I really enjoy watching Oprah's Lifeclass on the OWN network. I love that there is a forum for sharing and promoting the value of personal growth. Her guest/co-host was a woman named Iyanla Vanzant, a woman she has had on previous shows. In this Lifeclass Tour episode, a man named Steve shares his story of his 20+ year drug and alcohol dependency and difficult childhood. Iyanla notes that not once does Steve celebrate his intermittent sobriety, and he focuses on the despair and darkness of his past. She said to him, Who would you be without that story? She pointed out that his new addiction is his story, telling it, reinforcing the darkness, worthlessness, misery and pain. That place of pain is where he is comfortable in. When you live each day telling yourself a story that continues to feed your dark beast, how can you ever see the light?

If I were to be honest, I would write about what it was like to be the only person growing in my house that could hear. My mom, dad and sister are deaf. I was born an outsider, and despite being hard of hearing, that wasn't deaf enough for me to ever feel accepted by my father or sister. At the age of 34, I'm still an outsider who doesn't belong, and for many years I believed that, because why would my family lie to me? I avoided the deaf community from age 19-32, because I felt rejected by my family. It took me a long time to accept that two deaf people aren't all deaf people. There are still some very raw feelings around this which get rehashed every time there is a family conflict, but I am a work in progress. We are all works in progress. 

I've worked very hard to create a life that is abundant with joy and fun and compassion. But there is darkness, masquerading as sadness, lurking in my heart. It is hurtful when you are pushed away from the people who are supposed to love you. But I don't want this to be my story. I don't want to be that person who, when sitting down to meet strangers over lunch, spills out my miseries. I'd like to set that story on fire and let the ashes scatter in the wind. It doesn't really serve me, it doesn't help me move forward into greatness, happiness and true success. When I tell that story, people look at me and pity me. That isn't what I want. So I am committed to making a conscious effort to focus on a new story, one that revolves around me and how awesome I am, and how much I love being a coach and a comedian and how thankful and full of joy I am to have the people in my life that I do. 

Are you addicted to a story that weighs you down? What would happen if you told another story for a while, one that moves you forward in your journey? How can you tell your story that invigorates you? Lifts you up?



  1. Jean you are amazing.

    You know most of my past but you know that it is my present in the form of my kids that is the story I tell now. Thank you for reminding me that the present and future are more important than the past.

    1. Thank you, Chris. I am thankful for your friendship. xx

  2. Life always insists on moving forward. Welcome to your new life and all the joy and happiness you sooooo deserve. Keep on keeping on. :)