Check your narrative
One of the hardest things on my path to finding healing was to be confronted with the narrative that I had written throughout my life so far. I could have easily stand myself in the way in finding healing by sticking to this narrative. As life had unfolded, I had written my own story and had defined a main character. My book of life had many chapters that collided quite smoothly from one topic to another. Of which some chapters were of course harder than others. It actually took me quite some time to realise that, as back pain changed my life, it wasn’t just a new chapter rather it was a new book.
The book-before-the-pain was hard to put down. It had a successful main character; a twenty-something graduate exploring working life with a great love for dancing. Always curious about new things and striving to better anything on her way. My main character was defined by being a dancer, ambitious, thinking outside of the box and trying to be the best me I could be. I was still immersed in that world and storyline. However, it wasn’t applicable to my life anymore.
Role of my back
And then there is the chapter about my back. Or could I even call it a chapter? I don’t even think my back really had one or got a lot of mentions. I guess it was assumed or just present without much acknowledgement. For sure, it wasn’t a well-rounded character and was lacking depth. Since the back pain now impacted my daily life immensely, this had to change.
Now my back is a big part of my story. This was hard to acknowledge. I had to put the spotlight on it to give it the stage it needed to shine. Through exploring this narrative, I realised that it brings depth and meaning to my overall story and enriches it. It is not a sad chapter or dark one. As it might have been in my book-before-the-pain. Instead it is full of overcoming challenges that have inspired growth and beautiful new opportunities. Defining my core self turned out to be quite fulfilling. And I also realised that I hadn’t lost myself. I was still all the things I had defined myself as. Just the way I was used to writing these characteristics had to go through some changes and redefining.
At first I thought changing my narrative was only for the worst, but it actually just became a twist (scoliosis-pun) for the better. Why? Because it gave me a new perspective to view the present moment as is and see the opportunities it brings. Instead of being stuck in an old narrative and past expectations that don’t hold any truth anymore, I got to create another type of purpose as an overarching story in my life. Changing my narrative gave me the freedom to explore what life can bring and build on an exciting future that helps me shine my light. As the confrontation of changing my narrative was not pretty, I have come to feel grateful and joy with the book I have in my hands now.
Checking your narrative can be done every day. There doesn’t have to be a life changing moment. It could very well be that a certain story has developed with which you don’t agree anymore and you want to put in a twist or turn in. Don’t be afraid of the creative writing process. Write your own story.