I don’t see myself as a particularly interesting person. I read all sorts of stories about these hilariously ridiculous things that happen to other writers and, while I sip my tea with a smirk, inside I’m crying harder than anyone with a heart who’s ever watched The Lion King.
“Why can’t I be you?” I whimper internally while my boyfriend watches basketball and doesn’t notice my internal struggle to be interesting enough to warrant putting my story out to the masses.
I mean, there was a time I decided to suck it up and put on the goalie pads during a pick-up game of hockey…and then found myself in the ER the next night thanks to an overly zealous clearing attempt – that was supposed to go over my head – and ended up whacking me square in the back of the head and concussing me.
There was also a time I drove a now former Pittsburgh Penguin around on a train in a small Pennsylvania amusement park.
But really, those are more of a “you had to be there” thing. That’s pretty much my entire life.
And then I really thought about it.
Who decides which life stories are good enough to be shared? After all, we all have things that make our lives special. Whether it’s that hilariously embarrassing time you accidentally dropped your coffee all over the frazzled cashier at Tim Hortons (which I swear I just made up), or the mortifying time in fourth grade where a flying milkshake (it had wings, I swear!) landed you in the principal’s office waiting for new pants (which, unfortunately, I didn’t make up), these are the things that make up our lives.
And really, shouldn’t we just be happy that we have a story to share?
Although…that reminds me of the time I almost got stuck in Canada…
Eh, that’s a story for another time.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that how many people laugh at or get to read your great anecdote doesn’t really matter. After all, before Twitter and Facebook were a thing, we only told our friends our stories anyway. And wasn’t their reaction more important than a bunch of strangers?
My boyfriend – who isn’t actually oblivious to my emotional state, I assure you – made a really good point the other day. There are so many people out there who just seem to want their life validated by a bunch of strangers on the internet. The number of Twitter followers you have, the Facebook “friends” who like your status…it doesn’t really matter. It doesn’t even matter if someone reads your story on a website and thinks, “Hey! That’s my life!” or “That’s HILARIOUS. Oh my God, more people need to read this.” What matters is getting out there and making more of those “you had to be there” moments and enjoying them.
After all – if you’re live-tweeting yourself through an event…are you really even enjoying it that much?
And that goes for me, too. Yes, I’m a writer. Yes, I want to get my voice out there so I can, hopefully, one day get a job doing this. To do that, I need to get a story out there. But really, in the end, that story is always going to be more important to me than it is to a bunch of strangers.
So go out there. Make your own stories. And then, instead of taking it to Twitter or Facebook, pick up the phone, call your friends and tell them all about the duck that just chased you around the pond for fifteen minutes because you didn’t want to share your Subway.
Now there’s a story (that unfortunately didn’t happen to me.)
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