On a hot summer day, riding to pick my mom up for a doctor’s appointment, I was listening to the radio. As much as I love music, my ears tuned into a syndicated radio talk show. Just casually listening, awaiting the conversation ‘ s ending and ready for some smooth R&B to surface, I heard a mention of an African proverb that perked my eardrums. It was if my brain made an immediate decision and spoke, “I’m just gonna let this sit right here for a minute!” The words were, “Until the lion learns how to write, every story will glorify the hunter.”
Of course these words instantly resonated with me, as although it has only been a little more than four months since the inception of this blog, I’ve settled with the fact that maybe I am a writer. Not a writer of great literary works or pieces, but someone who is writing to express her thoughts, her feelings and her emotions, in hopes to inspire–to Energize, Educate and Empower. In that sense, I’m sort of like the lion–I’ve learned to write to tell my story. If I don’t, the hunter will surely do it for me. My story will be from the hunter’s perspective only. The story will glorify the hunter. That, my friends, is some kind of thought provoking! It’s loaded with just enough fuel to cause an explosion of reflection and an in-depth look at who I am, from a writer’s viewpoint. An explosion, although not intentional, it meticulously begins to spark the mind, from a small flicker to a collection of internal flames that combust into a burning need to tell YOUR story.
Wow…Telling your own story is so much more accurate than someone attempting to tell it for you. Who knows your story, your life’s glowing and sordid details better than you and God?? No one, not even the hunter, can tell it better than you, the lion. If the hunter doesn’t really know your story, he/she certainly shouldn’t be writing about you. He/she can’t accurately portray who you are…They don’t know your story!!
Oftentimes, we pre-judge others’ lives, gathering nuggets of facts and nibblets of pure speculation and begin to tell, what we have concocted in our minds as “their story.” Have we taken a mere lead regarding an incident or a few situations and sometimes the results of a full-blown or unsuspecting interrogation of unreliable witnesses all the way to the “street” Supreme Court?? Everything can be all wrong or maybe even half right, but it doesn’t stop the trek toward creating the court stenographer ‘ s transcript that gets read aloud and shared with story-thirsty readers or listeners. It’s not really fair!! We really don’t know their story.
Taking this to a personal realm, my life has definitely not been one that is laced with a truckload of sugar–transporting all sweet somethings, delicacies associated with platters of all tasty treats, with the assumption that everything is palatable; nothing is sour. On the flip-side of that, it hasn’t been laced with a boatload salt either! It has been, and continues to be a journey of lane changes–getting in the right lane, then getting in the wrong lane, merging back into the right lane again, sometimes traveling a long distance before veering over into that wrong lane again. The deal is, unless I’ve given you rights to the entire history of these moving violations, you really don’t know how I may have gotten on track or off track, so don’t give me a traffic ticket. You don’t really know my story.
A person’s life can be so much of what it looks like or what it appears to be on the surface, however it could also be the complete opposite of that or a combination of the two. We have a tendency to create the story without having concrete references or reliable resources. We don’t have full knowledge of what a person might be going through, what arrows have been thrown in their direction, what traumatic childhood or even adulthood experience they may be dealing with, why the facial expression is set to a frown rather than a smile, why they are overly selective about who is allowed in their circle, why they ended up in divorce court or the walls of a district or superior courtroom, why they get so filled up in worship, why their first instinct is to snap at you versus having a civil response, why they’re always hungry, why they’re quiet or silent, why they may be emotionally or physically abusive, why they can’t kick addiction, why they are compulsive liars–we may not know some or any of the reasons why a person is the way that they are, so we should stop bashing them. Stop spreading unjustified and unfair filth. Stop spewing venom! Stop infecting and injecting other folk’s minds and spirits with poison. Stop creating fictional characters. Stop occupying our minds and our lives with demeaning others. Start taking a look at ourselves. Know, acknowledge, and own our story. Because if we don’t, that could be the very reason why we are so prone to writing an unauthorized, inaccurate novel about someone else.
I can say that I continue to live a life that is pretty normal. Normal in the sense that I experience many of the same things that you and so many others do. We all have “stuff that we deal with!!” It may look, sound and feel a little different from the next person’s, but trust me it’s all “stuff!” But you know what?? It has personal ownership. It belongs to us and God! It should be left with its rightful owners unless we’re asked to be co-owners! Don’t try to figure it out, don’t put it “on blast.” Don’t smear a person’s character, their situation or their name. If we don’t know what to do with the space that someone is apparently occupying in our spirit, it’s simple—just pray for them! We don’t know their story, therefore shouldn’t write their biography.
Kicking off “The Cherry Vine” on April 24, 2016, I made a decision to write my own story, via expression. Putting my spin on that old African proverb…I believe that the lion already knows how to write, but hasn’t told his/her story. Therefore, in the meanwhile, the hunter can tell the lion’s story via forums of tasteless storytelling. Tell /write your story and put the hunter’s pen with your name on it to a much-needed and well-deserved rest!
Peace & Blessings, Lisa B