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They Should Have Behaved Better

they should have behaved better - CarolynDaughters.com

“You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.” Quote by Anne Lamott

I stand behind these words. Tell your stories. Too often, people are told to keep silent when they should be speaking up. Too often, the person who speaks up is deemed at fault for breaking the silence compact. Children witness or are on the receiving end of adults horrors, and when those children find the courage to tell someone they’re blamed by family and friends for the trouble the adults get in.

So, yes, tell your stories. You have every right. The key, I think, is to recognize how your feelings can alter the landscape of the stories you tell. Feelings can affect the language, the tone, the this happened and then that. They can affect the details, the ones shared overeagerly, the ones conveniently built up, cut down, or forgotten.

How far will you go to validate your feelings, to get your point across, to make the complex unequivocal? How far will you go to justify your frustration, anger, sadness, and grief to others and ultimately to yourself?

You feel the way you feel. Feelings are valid. You don’t need to apologize for them. And truth is truth, though it’s rarely neat and tidy. Truth is complicated. That’s because we’re all flawed human beings. The best of us and the worst of us.

So tell your stories. Write warmly about people. Write scathingly about people. Whatever you do, dine on the delicious complexity. Make it such that if people wanted you to write differently about them they should have behaved better.

Make it such that the writing about them it isn’t really about them. Because at the end of the day what you’re feeling, thinking, and writing is really about you.

Tell your truth. And most importantly, tell it as true as you can.

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