We should talk about your story. No, we need to talk about your story. I really want to talk about your story. I don’t mean the story of the mental illness battle you’re fighting right now. Not entirely, anyway. That piece is only a chapter, or a page, or a thread weaving its way between the words and the moments, but it isn’t your whole story. That is part of it, and it is important, but its importance exists because it is part of your larger story – and that larger story encompasses so much, and it needs to be told.
I want to know about your favorite color – why it is what it is and why others aren’t your favorite.
Tell me about the scar on your left knee from that childhood misadventure that you have absolutely zero regrets about.
How about that thing you do when you drive through a yellow light?
I want to know how you like your coffee.
I want to know about your favorite place in the world, and I want to hear all about that place you go when you just need to get away from the world for a bit.
Tell me about falling in love. Tell me about falling out of love.
What do you want to be when you grow up? If you’re grown up and not living the dream, why not? What’s stopping you?
I want to watch you get excited as you tell me all about your favorite TV show, especially if you’re part of a fandom.
What’s your favorite memory? What’s your least favorite?
If you’re a person of faith, tell me all about what that journey has been like for you. If you aren’t a person of faith, I want to know all about that journey too.
Talk to me about that movie that you loved but you’ve only seen once and will never watch again because it made you cry all the tears.
Do you like pineapple on your pizza?
What was the first concert that you went to?
Tell me about your spouse and kids. If you don’t have a spouse or kids, tell me about what you imagine them to be in the future. If you want nothing to do with having a spouse or kids, tell me about that too.
I want to know about the things you hope for, the hobby or sport or instrument or event that sets your soul on fire.
I want to know about places you’ve been, people you’ve met, things you’ve seen. The monumental and the mundane, the beautiful and the ugly, the big moments and the fleeting seconds. I want to know about all of them, because they make up your story. Your story is wild and weird and wonderful, and it is so incredibly important. Do you see that? The thing that you’ve been fighting – and surviving – is huge, and it may color some of your experiences, but it isn’t the whole story.
You are important. You matter. You were made for something incredible, and I want you to see it and know it and breathe it and believe it with every fiber of your being. Your story was meant to be told, and it is so much more than the depression or anxiety or whatever it is that you’re dealing with right now. It is so much more because you are so much more. Please know that. Please tell me your story.