One lesson that was really driven home during my dark night is that the stories we tell ourselves usually aren’t true.
We all live our stories on a small level every day. Some one cuts us off in traffic and we tell the story that they’re an unskilled asshole that needs to learn to drive. They could have just missed checking their blind spot this one time, they could have slept in and been caught up rushing to work, or maybe they really are a generally unpleasant and selfish person that never learned to drive. We live the story that’s easiest for us for us to tell in the moment.
We let these stories play in the background. The absurd ones we generally discard without a second thought. Someone is 5 minutes late and the mind jumps in with a “What if they were in an accident?!” We push the thought aside and usually the person shows up in a few minutes or has some other excuse. Every once in a great while the accident does happen, but if we tell the tragic story every time (and some people do) we’ll be fraught with anxiety.
These stories show up for a reason, they are based on past experiences and try to protect us. Some of them do protect us, but at what cost? And what are the stories playing in our subconscious- the ones we bury deep and don’t want to look at?
I lived my stories for 3 months. The function to sort between reality and fantasy had short-circuited, so every story my mind came up with felt like truth to me. From believing I was the next Messiah to believing for a while that my first boyfriend was secretly a half-brother (we both had Cherokee and Irish in us, and my mind became fixated with shame and disgust over the realization we could be related), there were many stories I never would have thought for a second were actually playing in the back of my mind.
Did some part of me always believe these stories? Many of the books I read and movies I watched growing up became about me. The truth was in between the lines, in between the fake names, they were stories about my life, my journey. Nothing existed outside of me. Everything was within me.
Was that just another story? I’m still sorting through the significance. Even though my vision is still clearing, my experience has given me space to step back when my mind goes on overload, and to remind myself that most of these stories I’m telling myself aren’t true.