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  • Writer's picturerobyn

lessons on storytelling

This time last year, I was picking up ornaments from the Christmas tree off of the floor. It was something I saw coming...could have even prevented. In the weeks before Christmas, we watched our overly sized tree slightly tilt towards the ground a little more every day. We'd push it back, tighten the screws that were holding it's trunk, and think that the small effort we were giving it, would prevent the disaster that was upon us. We couldn't have been more wrong.

But this isn't a story about my tree. Or the mess that was left from us pretending all would be well. This might not even be a story you want to read so close after a holiday. Maybe you know where I am headed with this already...or maybe you still think this is about Christmas ornaments.

You see, I have a side to me that looks like I know what I am doing. If I did a rough storyline of my life, besides a few major plot twists and potential plot twists, my book is fairly neat and packaged well. Maybe yours is too. I know what I want and I am fairly certain on how to get it. But the thing is...the plot twists are what worries me most. Not that I have them, as we all do, but the stories I write in my head about them and how to navigate them. This is where I trip up every time. They don't seem to go away and this time of year...between Christmas and the new year, always seems a bit more reflective for me than any other time. It might be the stillness that winter brings, or the slow down our market season seems to have, but here we are.

Here we are.

The problem isn't you. I have a knack for writing the ending before we even get there. It could be a beautiful ending or a disastrous one I see coming but do very little about. I can sit and watch something unfold and know that there is a better way, something that can be done to prevent what is about to happen...but instead of securing the tree the way it needs to be to withstand the weight of all it carries, I ignore it in small ways until it's impossible to keep looking away. Obviously you do too.

But this is the thing...ignoring it will kill it. Ignoring it will eventually take the beauty away that it once had. Because not paying attention and giving that effort makes for a good plot twist that no one really needs right now. We have had enough of those in the last couple years...some beyond our control, but many others completely preventable with minimal effort. I have had plenty of opportunities to learn this lesson...I have had plenty of opportunities to do something different. I know you have too.

It's important that we know who we are and what we need. It's important to know how much effort we need from others...and I can tell you this...minimal never does it. Minimal effort will get you a Christmas tree at the end of the year with broken ornaments on the ground.

But this year, I very well might have a few more plot twists. I still might struggle to be valued and seen for who I am. I might still be figuring things out...but my tree is still standing because that is one lesson I don't plan on having to learn again. I know who I am and what I can do and I am happy to have you walk with me...but don't think that I am the kind of girl that participates in minimal. And you shouldn't be either.

Merry Christmas friends...

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