Hard Stories and Ragged Edges

I run my thumb along the end of my ring finger. It catches on the edge of the nail, ragged as a mountain range. I’m not sure when I filed them last. It’s been three weeks, at least. My eight fingernails are bare. A haphazard splash of teal paint is all that’s left of the polish on my thumbs and even that is slowly chipping away. I’ve been feeling the ragged edges more and more these days. There are so many places where I am worn thin, places where parts of me that I don’t want to deal with are jutting out at odd angles and forcing themselves to be seen.

Last week we started writing the hard stories. On Thursday I managed to pound out 369 words of the worst day of the year in the dress before giving in to the knot in my stomach. It’s not a story that I want to tell, but it’s one that needs to be told. When I talked with Sue about it, she reminded me that the writing itself can be a healing process.

She also tells me that the stories that are hardest to tell are often the best to hear.

We are, after all, people of story. I can’t count how many times a story has reached its hand through the darkness and whispered, “You’re not alone.” We tell the hard stories because of the “Me too’s,” the people around us who need to hear that they also are not alone. Somehow they come out on the other side better for the hearing and we come out better for the telling.

So we wrestle with the words. We lean into the sharp edges and the ragged parts. We turn our attention to the emotions still demanding to be felt and deal with them as well as we know how. Because yes, our stories are hard, but they are good. And more than that, they are ours. They are only waiting to be told.