Why I'm Publishing an Autobiography

Once my beautiful pure-hearted grandmother told me that she never thought her story was worth anything. Having left her Old Mennonite community as a young bride, she raised 9 children and lost her husband early on. She scraped by as a seamstress and babysitter, held together a family of wildly passionate, stubborn children, and mostly, she did this with her mere presence.

She was formidable and quiet, the epitome of grit, yet she couldn’t look at me when I told her that her story was inspiring. After a few moments, her red-rimmed eyes betrayed her. She said, “I never thought it was worth telling.”

All at once, I was heartbroken and shocked. I was angry for her and for all the women born into her oppressive circumstances, which was roughly Every Female Ever. I was also thankful that I lived in an age where I knew my value as a woman. I was only 24 at the time, headstrong, a wee bit arrogant, and not afraid to ask uncomfortable questions.

I could not have known that my life at that moment was resting on the head of a pin. In the few short years that followed I would be married, have children, and contemplate suicide . . . again. My self-assured swagger would disappear and I would tumble down a different path.

For my grandmother, for my mother, for my daughter, and for Me - I must write my story, against the advice of all the voices in my head that say it’s not important enough or too shameful to be shared. The afternoon I sat with my grandma asking her difficult questions taught me that a story can change a person’s life. The telling of it, the hearing it, the measuring of it against your own story, in turn, can color your decisions forever after.

I’m turning out my pockets, my purse, my brain full of tangly thoughts, and my heart full of hopes and wishes so that others can know their stories are worth telling, too.




2 comments:

  1. I think we all need to take our own stories and record them is words and photos - especially because it's so easy to forget the important little things.

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    Replies
    1. Yes, Carol :) It's incredible to look back and not recognize yourself in your own words, too.

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