“You enter the forest
at the darkest point,
where there is no path.
Where there is a way or path,
it is someone else’s path.
You are not on your own path.
If you follow someone else’s way,
you are not going to realize
Joseph Campbell, The Hero’s Journey: Joseph Campbell on His Life & Work
As I read an article entitled, Inmates at California Prison ask Guards to Keep Quiet, I thought, they did the crime, they should do the time, but it may be that the guards were being loud all night on purpose so that the inmates could never get to sleep. What is the truth? A spokeswoman representing correctional officers declined to comment. (Um…isn’t that an oxymoron?) Both sides see the situation through their own lens and they tell the tale in their own way.
Sometimes we tell a story in our own idiom, and it might not compute for everyone. On the BBC show, Cybercrimes with Ben Hammersley, the host recounted a crime in which a Brooklyn gang systematically robbed $300,000 from New York City ATM machines on one day in 2013. Hammersley spoke of the moment they were captured, referring to it as a “kerfuffle in a carpark,” and I had to pause the show for a minute. I needed to break that down in my mind.
We’re talking Brooklyn, Ben. They’re called “parking lots” here in the states, and I seriously doubt locals would ever use the word “kerfuffle.” I know I never have! What is that, anyway? It sounds like something fluffy that you wear, or perhaps dust with!
Somebody is going to tell your story one day, and it might not be the truth as you lived it. If someone made a map of your life, they still might not end up where you are.
Tell your own story now. Walk your own path. Write it down while it’s still true. Over time, details are forgotten and eventually, somebody else is going to presume to speak for you in your silence or absence. Why not be the one to tell the world who you are?
Let’s let the late, great writer, Maya Angelou have the last word on the subject. Speak for yourself and tell it like it is, she said, or you’ll live to regret it.
“I learned a long time ago the wisest thing I can do is be on my own side, be an advocate for myself and others like me. There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”