Changing the Narrative

Meeks Cabin, Uinta County, Wyoming

We can’t always control the events in our life. Sometimes we are mere players. What we are told and reminded of is we can control our reaction to events. Easier said than done. It may feel at times that we are swept downstream in a fast moving river and our reactions are little more than instinct. If that is the case and our reaction comes before we have time to think maybe we have to revisit the situation and if possible change the story. It is our story, after all, we are in charge of the narrative. Sometimes we need to do a rewrite, an edit. We revisit the pain in order to find beauty. We change the narrative.

When I turned 12, I was able to attend my church’s Young Women Camp for the first time. At that time, I enjoyed camping and was excited. That first year was not enjoyable. I had no idea what to expect and had a fairly miserable time. I’m not sure why I decided to attend the following year but I did. As difficult as my first year of camp was my second year was on the opposite side of the spectrum. I enjoyed it.

That is a bit of an understatement. That second year of camp is where I found my voice, my confidence, my identity (as much as I could find at 13), and my spirituality. There were several contributing factors but that week was the start of the current road I am on. A major building block in making me me.

Because of all that transpired at camp, I loved the spot we went camping. It was the same every year. The area truly became one of my special spots. A place I loved visiting and felt safe.

Fast forward many years later. I had moved back home and had been called to serve as a Young Women leader. I personally put myself under an enormous amount of pressure because my Young Women years had been so formative for me. Especially camp.

The eight years I went to camp as a leader were difficult. None of them were easy and I never could rekindle that spark I felt as a youth. But the last two years were almost entirely destructive to my well-being.

The last year of camp I limped away with fragile confidence, a shattered identity, and shaken faith. Now I know I should not have given anyone that much power over me but as I mentioned earlier, I felt like I was in a river swept downstream. It shouldn’t have ended that way but it did.

What is worse, our camping spot was the same. In of of life’s crueler moments, the once lovely and beautiful spot that I enjoyed so much became associated with darkness and failure. My special spot became a place of pain.

Fast forward a few more years. I no longer serve in the Young Women organization. I have tried my best to restore my faith and hope. I have developed other interests and participated in other activities to rebuild my confidence. Healing has been a slow process.

One thing I needed to do was to reclaim my special spot. My plans were delayed a year because of the pandemic but last summer I was able to accomplish my goal. I reserved the campground for a family get-together. For a few days, I was able to be in my spot surrounded by my loved ones.

Unfortunately, I don’t have plans to ever go back to the area. That was probably a one-and-done. Don’t get me wrong, if given the opportunity I would love to go back. In fact, if cremation was an option for me this would be one spot I’d like my ashes spread. It is that important to me.

And now, when I think of the place I can again smile. I remember the love and can see the beauty again. I don’t think of the pain only the healing. In this instance, the rewrite worked. I changed the narrative.

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