Everyone Has A Story, So What's Yours?

Everyone Has A Story, So What's Yours?

Stories are everywhere, just take a closer look.

Everyday we hear stories. Television shows, commercials, movies, social media, lunchroom gossip, all of these are forms of storytelling, even if we may just consider them a part of life. We are surrounded by the tales of others along with the one's we tell ourselves influencing our perceptions and how we look at the world around us. The trouble is that often these stories are overlooked when put into a context of the phrase "Tell me a story about yourself." With that people often choke. They may say something trite like "I'm boring" or they may say that they don't have anything worth sharing. But if we have all lived don't we all have some story to tell? The stories we tell are in fact how we live.

My fascination with storytelling came at a young age. I had an extremely vivid imagination and I would often spend hours developing intense storylines for my barbies or toy animals. I would also play a game with my dad where I would pick any object or thing from a toaster to a tree, and he would have to create a story about that item. We would create one of these stories every night before bed. As I grew older and could write for myself I would dabble with creating my own short stories that were usually fiction. Later in college, I was a teaching assistant for a storytelling class, and now I document stories from older adults at a senior center.

My experience with spinning tales and memories isn't necessarily everyone's, but being interested in the value of the story can create openings for empathy and communication in world that currently seems to be lacking in those traits. Storytelling does not need to be as defined as standing in front of an audience or group and spilling personal information or a fiction piece you worked up. It can be as easy as sitting with a friend and talking with one another.

The world needs storytellers. Children who learn to tell stories at a young age develop greater literacy rates. Those who listen and tell stories develop empathy and an understanding for each other's human emotion, as storytelling can be thought of as a form of catharsis. Stories have the ability to teach, to entertain, to excite, to impart morality, to express beauty, to incite change in a society that needs it, and to inspire others to strive for what is right. The advocates for change we see currently are those who speak out with their own stories. Let us look to current news for examples: The Women's March was a story in itself, fabricated by millions of others' stories that inspired even more people to continue to fight for rights and justice. Then there are those who told their story in response to the Dakota Access Pipeline, to try to reveal why it needed to be stopped. And now those innocent Muslims and refugees who tell their stories to a nation about how they deserve to be heard and protected just as we all deserve these rights. All of these movements and responses to injustice are shared with the world via storytelling.

Your own story may not be "special" or "interesting" to you, but to others it may be just what is needed to inspire change, action, or simply happiness. Everyone has a story. So what is stopping you from sharing yours?

Cover Image Credit: michelfalcon.com

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8 Reasons Why My Dad Is the Most Important Man In My Life

Forever my number one guy.

Growing up, there's been one consistent man I can always count on, my father. In any aspect of my life, my dad has always been there, showing me unconditional love and respect every day. No matter what, I know that my dad will always be the most important man in my life for many reasons.

1. He has always been there.

Literally. From the day I was born until today, I have never not been able to count on my dad to be there for me, uplift me and be the best dad he can be.

2. He learned to adapt and suffer through girly trends to make me happy.

I'm sure when my dad was younger and pictured his future, he didn't think about the Barbie pretend pageants, dressing up as a princess, perfecting my pigtails and enduring other countless girly events. My dad never turned me down when I wanted to play a game, no matter what and was always willing to help me pick out cute outfits and do my hair before preschool.

3. He sends the cutest texts.

Random text messages since I have gotten my own cell phone have always come my way from my dad. Those randoms "I love you so much" and "I am so proud of you" never fail to make me smile, and I can always count on my dad for an adorable text message when I'm feeling down.

4. He taught me how to be brave.

When I needed to learn how to swim, he threw me in the pool. When I needed to learn how to ride a bike, he went alongside me and made sure I didn't fall too badly. When I needed to learn how to drive, he was there next to me, making sure I didn't crash.

5. He encourages me to best the best I can be.

My dad sees the best in me, no matter how much I fail. He's always there to support me and turn my failures into successes. He can sit on the phone with me for hours, talking future career stuff and listening to me lay out my future plans and goals. He wants the absolute best for me, and no is never an option, he is always willing to do whatever it takes to get me where I need to be.

6. He gets sentimental way too often, but it's cute.

Whether you're sitting down at the kitchen table, reminiscing about your childhood, or that one song comes on that your dad insists you will dance to together on your wedding day, your dad's emotions often come out in the cutest possible way, forever reminding you how loved you are.

7. He supports you, emotionally and financially.

Need to vent about a guy in your life that isn't treating you well? My dad is there. Need some extra cash to help fund spring break? He's there for that, too.

8. He shows me how I should be treated.

Yes, my dad treats me like a princess, and I don't expect every guy I meet to wait on me hand and foot, but I do expect respect, and that's exactly what my dad showed I deserve. From the way he loves, admires, and respects me, he shows me that there are guys out there who will one day come along and treat me like that. My dad always advises me to not put up with less than I deserve and assures me that the right guy will come along one day.

For these reasons and more, my dad will forever be my No. 1 man. I love you!

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From One Nerd To Another

My contemplation of the complexities between different forms of art.


Aside from reading Guy Harrison's guide to eliminating scientific ignorance called, "At Least Know This: Essential Science to Enhance Your Life" and, "The Breakthrough: Immunotherapy and the Race to Cure Cancer" by Charles Graeber, an informative and emotional historical account explaining the potential use of our own immune systems to cure cancer, I read articles and worked on my own writing in order to keep learning while enjoying my winter break back in December. I also took a trip to the Guggenheim Museum.

I wish I was artistic. Generally, I walk through museums in awe of what artists can do. The colors and dainty details simultaneously inspire me and remind me of what little talent I posses holding a paintbrush. Walking through the Guggenheim was no exception. Most of the pieces are done by Hilma af Klint, a 20th-century Swedish artist expressing her beliefs and curiosity about the universe through her abstract painting. I was mostly at the exhibit to appease my mom (a K - 8th-grade art teacher), but as we continued to look at each piece and read their descriptions, I slowly began to appreciate them and their underlying meanings.

I like writing that integrates symbols, double meanings, and metaphors into its message because I think that the best works of art are the ones that have to be sought after. If the writer simply tells you exactly what they were thinking and how their words should be interpreted, there's no room for imagination. An unpopular opinion in high school was that reading "The Scarlet Letter" by Nathaniel Hawthorne was fun. Well, I thought it was. At the beginning of the book, there's a scene where Hawthorne describes a wild rosebush that sits just outside of the community prison. As you read, you are free to decide whether it's an image of morality, the last taste of freedom and natural beauty for criminals walking toward their doom, or a symbol of the relationship between the Puritans with their prison-like expectations and Hester, the main character, who blossoms into herself throughout the novel. Whichever one you think it is doesn't matter, the point is that the rosebush can symbolize whatever you want it to. It's the same with paintings - they can be interpreted however you want them to be.

As we walked through the building, its spiral design leading us further and further upwards, we were able to catch glimpses of af Klint's life through the strokes of her brush. My favorite of her collections was one titled, "Evolution." As a science nerd myself, the idea that the story of our existence was being incorporated into art intrigued me. One piece represented the eras of geological time through her use of spirals and snails colored abstractly. She clued you into the story she was telling by using different colors and tones to represent different periods. It felt like reading "The Scarlet Letter" and my biology textbook at the same time. Maybe that sounds like the worst thing ever, but to me it was heaven. Art isn't just art and science isn't just science. Aspects of different studies coexist and join together to form something amazing that will speak to even the most untalented patron walking through the museum halls.

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