One of the biggest realizations for me regarding the importance of sharing my story was a long time ago when I realized that my story mattered. It happened as most things happen in my life, I was at a MultiCultural Awareness training to learn about others and in turned I learned waaaay more about myself in the process. If there is one reason to embrace self-discovery through story & join me in The Figuring It Out tribe, it's the likelihood that you will completely blow your own mind like every 3 months from all of the learning. Seriously! Years ago, when I was an introductory member of the Figuring It Out Tribe, that mind-blowing was terrifying and unsettling. Which it turns out is totally normal - that's how learning feels. I didn't know that - most of us don't know that.
Sidebar: Most kids by the time they leave school do not know what learning feels like. We learned what it feels like to be taught or not be taught and that's very, very different. Another blog for another time.
Anyway, I came from and married into a distinguished chapter of The Certain People tribe. The Certain People culture has the good fortune of rarely carrying the unsettled or terrifying burden. Instead they carry satisfaction, judgement, and anger with them. A self-inflicted mind screw isn't something Certain People are gonna mess with - they are doing just fine and have been just fine 50 years. And I'll be the first to say, they're not wrong. The Certain People culture is typical in southwest Wisconsin. And they are some of the hardest working people I know because they've proven successful by sheer will and determination most of the time. This tribe is full of people I love. People who have taken care of me when I couldn't take care of myself. The Certain People tribe is constructed of wonderful human beings. Some of them are my most treasured friends and family members.
That's why wandering away from them caused so much confusion and torment at first. It's a strange paradox because I wasn't going anywhere, but I couldn't take part in the day to day any longer. The satisfaction seemed to only come at the expense of others and the judgement and anger were just too heavy a load. The amount of work to resist change and innovation wasn't sustainable. I broke under that extreme pressure and turned toward a different path. I could not take one more moment of just being fine. I wanted to learn more. I wanted to figure something else out.
So here we are 10 years later. Happier, healthier and more energized than ever to find my way through my story and the stories of others -- and in turn blowing my own mind. And this decade of self-discovery has gotten much easier. I've found others from neighboring Figuring It Out chapters and we support each other. We also embrace Certain People who are venturing away from their familiar territory because the pressure from within is too much. As they cross our borders unsettled and terrified, we let them know it will be okay. We help them navigate until they realize it's okay to love yourself and love people in a tribe you cannot reside in full time. We are forthcoming about the constant tension between the Figuring It Out and The Certain People and share stories as a Figuring It Out living amongst the natives. Those experiences allow us to learn from one another so we can walk our way through it when we are alone in The Wilderness.