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#135 - An Important Lesson My Grandmother Taught Me
A story about life happening.
This is Adventures in Storytelling your weekly note with resources, insights, and actionable tools for better communication through storytelling. Enjoy. I have a special invite for you at the end.
I was a fairly hyperactive, precocious little girl. I was the messy kid still dusty from the playground who was always asking why and not accepting reductive answers. I was raised by my mother and grandmother and six-year-old me saw my granny as a serious, stern woman not to be crossed. I had a healthy dose of fear mixed in with my admiration and love for her. I knew better than to make her the victim of the curious inquiries that would pop into my small head with little rhyme or reason. Not just, why is the sky blue, but also did you ever wish it were another colour? And if yes, which one?
And it didn’t change as I got older, I was the kid who chose to do her sixth-grade biography of a famous person project on Santa Claus and then went deep on the Nordic history of the fabled character. But sometimes I’d get caught up in my curiosity and forget who I was harassing with my need to know.
“Go siddung somewhere,” my grandmother would eventually snap in her curt Jamaican way. Go sit down somewhere, AKA, go be still, take a breath and come back when you can comport yourself appropriately. The come back part was implicit because I was a well-loved kid and I knew it. So I would do just that, go find a seat in the living room and breathe. Often I’d be distracted by a sibling or the television, but eventually I’d go back to watching her knead dumpling for dinner and could do so calmly with only one or two pertinent questions.
Little did little me know that in those moments at her wits end, my granny was teaching me to self regulate. She didn’t tell me to behave, she told me to go find a space and take the time to calm down. It’s a skill I’ve held onto into my 4th decade. I’m lucky to have it as I’ve been contending with a series of challenges in my life the past few weeks. Instead of getting overwhelmed (or staying overwhelmed), I’ve found places to go sit down, breathe, and then get back to it.
What does that have to do with storytelling? Well that’s the story of why this week’s newsletter is a little late and shorter. And light on the tips and resources. I should be back in the thick of things next week, but for now I hope you’ve gained a bit of empathy for my need to keep it simple and insight into how stories can bring to life simple facts.
How might you use a story from your past to a explain a fact or condition in the present? Let me know in the comments.
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