The Roots of a Story

The image shows a piece of artwork by Jina Wallwork. It is a digital painting with abstract subject matter and tree roots. Stylistically this piece of artwork has links with abstract art.

The Roots of a Story by Jina Wallwork


After a moment of trauma there are words that pierce the ear drums with the velocity of a missile. People say that ‘everything happens for a reason’. It’s painful to hear this phrase because it’s spoken in the darkest of moments, yet these words are an invitation to write a new narrative. They’re the stories that we tell ourselves and they are the pathway to creating our own happiness. You can tell yourself that you were the hero fighting external forces. These stories are important because they help you to maintain a healthy relationship to yourself. Building one of these narratives involves looking at all of the positive things that came out of a moment of sorrow, failure and devastation. The worst twist of fate will send you down an unexpected path, but you can always find something beautiful in the scenery. When we successfully write our own story, we find a narrative where everything happened as it was supposed to and it helps us to accept the life that we have. Writing your own story isn’t a simple process, there are dangers involved.

Every story must contain hope. After a crippling experience, you might decide the best story to tell yourself is the one where you are a victim who suffered because of a demon who should never have walked the earth. This narrative will maintain the relationship that you have with yourself because you can be the innocent person who is filled with virtue and kindness, a beautiful flower that has been crushed on the hillside, battered by the difficulties of life. This is the easiest narrative to create, but it is also the most damaging. This kind of narrative cripples all hope because it can destroy any belief that the world is beautiful. A belief in love and compassion is replaced with the belief that you’re a victim and this mindset will stop you from ever being the hero of your own story. You will spend your life expecting to be attacked while also believing that you’re incapable of defending yourself. You would be the delicate flower that is forever placed in a precarious situation. To claim this story, you must also believe that the world is full of demons and this can stop you from empathizing with other people. You must see the humanity in those around you or you will live in constant fear.

You have to be careful when writing these stories. They’re your roots and they will define whether you grow to be a delicate flower or a mighty oak. I can’t tell you the perfect story to write because it needs to be your story. I would suggest that you’re the hero who survives despite total devastation. Don’t rush to write a story that is poisoned with your pain and suffering. You want to make sense of these events and place them in a greater context, yet speed could lead you to poison your beliefs and warp your own growth. Wait, write your story when you’re ready. You don’t want anger and sorrow to be the poisoned ink of your internal dialogue. Whatever has occurred you’re capable of moving beyond it. Hope must always be the foundation of your story. Without it there is no future, only stagnation. You can write a beautiful story and become the strong oak that can tackle any storm.

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