The next day I thought about that statement a lot longer than my sun-frazzled brain should have, because, I wasn’t really sure if she was correct. Sure, I may have some great stories, but so does she, and so does nearly every other human being I have ever been trapped in an elevator with, talked to in a slow grocery store line or been squished next to on a red-eye airplane flight.
I am the type of person who will unashamedly strike up a conversation with almost anyone. The group of little old ladies at the gym, the bored looking teenager at the DMV, the crazy looking, obviously armed, tattooed biker who is waiting in line for his drink at a coffee shop, I have no problem making eye contact, smirking and saying, “Hello.”
Due to the fact that my mother burned any sense of shame I might have ever possessed out of me at a very young age, combined with a low fear of danger affecting my person, I have gotten to hear remarkable, fascinating, joyous, heart-wrenching, funny and courageous stories from around the world.
The thing that constantly amazes me is how much coaxing it often takes to assure someone that no, really, I do want to hear their stories. When I profess an interest in hearing a random snippet of someone’s life I’m usually given a facial expression that someone might reserve for looking at a penguin that magically just begun singing and dancing The Time Warp.
I’m not talking, necessarily about deep personal stories that someone might only want to share with a therapist (though, I have heard those as well). I’m talking the everyday, my grandmother used to live across from my high school and bake me cookies every day, I used to have a job working as a telemarketer and I had this one crazy call, I once taught myself how to build chairs from scratch, stories.
It saddens me that so many people believe that their stories are worth so little. Our stories, as an extension of our experiences, make us who we are.
So let me encourage anyone who happens to be reading this to not only listen to others’ stories, but to share your own. No, seriously, go and tell a story to your friends, post a moment from your life here in the comments, strike up a conversation with a stranger and find out you have something in common. Your stories are part of what make you unique, so why not share bits of you with others?