Rising Strong: Introduction 1:
A Note on Research and Storytelling as Methodology (xi-xiv)
“There are many truths and there are many ways of knowing. Each discovery contributes to our knowledge, and each way of knowing deepens our understanding and adds another dimension to our view of the world.” (Brown, xii)
“The most useful knowledge about human behavior is based on people’s lived experiences.” (Brown, xiii)
“We all want to show up and be seen in our lives. This means we will all struggle and fail; we will know what it means to be both brave and brokenhearted.” (Brown, xiv)
Chipperish Media, run by the New York Times best selling author Lani Diane Rich announced months ago that she and her friend Dr. Kelly Jones were launching a podcast titled “Big Strong Yes” where they would read through and discuss three books: “Rising Strong” by Brene Brown, “Big Magic” by Elizabeth Gilbert, and “Year of Yes” by Shonda Rhimes.
As soon as this announcement was made, I knew that I just had to do this along with them. The release date of the first episode came and went. So did the next and the next. I had borrowed “Rising Strong” from the library and barely got 10 pages in. Ten pages is pathetic! At least that’s what I kept telling myself. Little did I know that it was because this book is brutally honest and to get through it, I needed to be brutally honest with myself. I wanted to do it desperately, but every time I would pick the book up, I would put it right back down. Maybe next week, I told myself.
Here I am, nearly three months later, still struggling to start. In their Badassery episode (episode zero) of the podcast, both Rich and Jones admitted that the thing didn’t want to do the most was usually what they needed to do. This included journaling. It made sense to me. So, I put my big girl pants on and ordered my own copy of “Rising Strong.” I knew if I was going to do this right, I was going to need to highlight the shit out of my book. Apparently the library discourages such behavior with their book.
I came to terms that it is going to take me longer than most to get through this podcast series, but in the end it is going to be worth it. I also realized that I too will be journaling. Most things doing come to me quickly, especially learning hard lessons. It’s going to take a lot of words to truly work through my brain in a journey of self discovery.
I want to know myself better. I do not want to live in fear. I want to have purpose. I want to believe in myself. I want to give myself my best chance at life. This is exciting and terrifying. I know I will fall. But that’s not really the point is it? It’s about rising strong after I have fallen. The act of picking myself up, dusting myself off, and continuing to try and better myself is going to make me a stronger person.
Is it going to be hard? Undoubtedly. Will it be worth it? Hell yes it will. Let’s get started…
So, the quotes at the top of this article really stood out to me on my first read through of the first introduction. I was attracted to them, but I am not fully sure why. The best way for me to do this is question myself and work through them to the best of my ability.
What is truth? Who determines what truth is? I acknowledge that there are universal truths, cultural truths, religious truths, and personal truths. Aside from universal truths, I believe each category is quite subjective.
How do we know things? We are taught things by our parents (and them by theirs and so on) and all of the people that surround us. We know things by what we read. We know things by what we observe. We know things for experiencing them (discovering) for ourselves. We learn from our own mistakes, and we learn from the mistakes of others.
Every single discovery we make contributes to who we are and what we know in this world. There are many perspectives one could take; however, for me, I am on an absolutely terrifying journey of self discovery. Everything that I have ever done or that has ever been done to (or around) me is a part of who I am. I accept this. These experiences have giving me a unique perspective into the world through my eyes.
The third and final quote was the hardest for me to even contemplate. We all want to show up and be seen. You can’t see it, but I have literally stopped and have been sitting here for 15 minutes just thinking about that single line. How can this be true when I have spent most of my life hiding and trying to be invisible?
Am I an exception to this rule or have I been making excuses all of this time. I’m trying to figure out when the last time I was truly present and wanting that feeling of community. Until recently, I believe the last time I truly felt that desire, I was seven years old. My family was living in a duplex in Roebling New Jersey. I had a great second grade teacher where I was thriving. My best friend pretty much lived across the street from me and I had so much family close by.
In May of 1989 my father got a job in Oregon and my parents along with my younger brother Ben moved across the country. I didn’t truly understand the scope of the move and what it truly meant. I don’t remember saying good bye to my friends. The only family member I remember saying good bye to was my cousin Corinne (we may have been devising a plan to sneak her into the Blazer so she could come to Oregon too). Even that good bye was more of an “I’ll see you soon,” instead of a “its going to be years and years between the times we see each other.”
Between my second and third grade years I was depressed. I turned to food as a comfort. When I was twelve, there was some additional trauma in my life that launched me into a serious unhealthy relationship with food. Little did I know how devastating that was going to be to my life as a whole.
All of this to say, the choices I made and the experiences I had heavily influenced the way I saw myself. I won’t lie. I didn’t like what I saw, inside or out. It took my marriage nearly falling apart in February of this year for me to begin on a path that even allowed me to think that I did actually want to be seen and that I did want to matter. That is a huge self discovery, but I knew it was only the first step.
Has it been easy? Not even a little. Do I think it’s going to be worth it? Absolutely. So here I am, publicly taking my first step. Will I fall? Yes. Will I learn from my mistakes and rise stronger than ever? Hell yes I will.
Just watch me.