Sharing Herstories

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“For most of history, anonymous was a woman.” -Virginia Woolf

I’m thrilled to see signs of spring but saddened to see the end of U.S. Women’s History Month. I learned a lot this month and hate to see all the women’s stories lose visibility afforded us during March. What did I learn?

  • The bad news. My 19 years+ of formal education failed me miserably when it comes to learning about extraordinary American women. Heck, I minored in history in undergraduate school! Yet it seems that textbooks (at least the ones I was assigned to read) included little about how women have struggled and triumphed, shaping events and soaring throughout time in the U.S.
  • The good news. I feel enriched and emboldened after focusing on the “herstory” that makes America. And, my head and heart tells me that learning and sharing women’s stories is vital to our nation.

herstory

Definition of HERSTORY: herstory; specifically :  history considered or presented from a feminist viewpoint or with special attention to the experience of women

woolf-1-1Meanwhile, a snarky contributor to the Urban Dictionary offers this:

“Naturally, any person who is even a tad more than illiterate will realize that the word “history” derives from the Greek word “historia”, which means “to inquire into”. Thus “history” has absolutely nothing to do with male possessions, or even maleness. It appears that illiteracy was the standard of the day, being that it was enough for the word to “sound like” male possession of the story, instead of looking into (inquire into?) the true meaning of the word (history, that is).”

Story

Because herstory may feel threatening to some or uncomfortable to many, let’s talk specifically about story.

We understand life through stories. Stories connect us, inspire us, teach us, soothe us, motivate us, and ground us to our ancestors and our past. We cannot, never have and never will, live without stories.

Across scientific disciplines, researchers all agree that the telling of stories is critical to human
development, to our brain functioning, and to our capacity to connect with one another.

  • Leo Widrich’s Lifehacker article, The Science of Storytelling: Why Telling a Story is the Most Powerful Way to Activate Our Brains, is a great introduction to what happens in our brains-on-stories and why that’s important. He also gives a tip about overused words or phrases: stop using them because our brains don’t work, our ears don’t listen.
  • The Women’s & Children’s Network describes why stories are so important for children, that 10430511_812970668739248_8927591932557111106_nstories help develop confidence, “Part of building self-esteem and confidence is knowing where you fit in the world. Stories told by parents and grandparents about family history – ‘When Mummy was a little girl’ – help your child develop this sense of belonging.”
  • In a Psychology Today piece, Story-telling is Necessary for Human Survival , Hofstra University ethics professor Arthur Dobrin writes, “Stories—narratives—provide a way of understanding our place in the scheme of things by structuring our understanding of events. They root us in an on-going stream of history and thereby provide us with a sense of belonging and helping establish our identities.”

Last, a conversation about stories would feel incomplete without sharing a few of my favorite quotes from The International Storytelling Center‘s exhibit…

What Storytellers Say About Stories

“A story is the shortest distance between people.” Pat Speight

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” Maya Angelou

“Sometimes we need stories more than food to stay alive.” Karen Dietz

“It’s hard to hate anyone whose story you know.” Roslyn Bresnick-Perry

“Without our stories, how will we know it’s us? Without the stories of others, how will we know who they are?” Dudley Cocke

“In those moments when we tell stories together, we are most truly human and most genuinely ourselves.” Jeannine Pasini Beekman

Telling Your Stories

il_340x270.525516988_k7dkIt is thrilling that I get to share Fearless Females stories. Following my “test case,” the fabulous Traci Johnstone, CEO of eOLIO, 5 more women have joined Traci in the Fearless Females Forum spotlight:  Julie JakopicNicole Dominique Le MaireChristina LattimerAnne Perschel, and C.L. Murphy.

Their stories have been shared on social media nearly 1000 times to date! This tells me that something resonates with others about stories that involve women overcoming fear.

Perhaps selfishly, I personally love the Fearless Females Forum because it makes me feel so connected to other women who, of course, experience fear but find a way to push past it or as Anne Perschel says in her feature post: “Fear is your friend, but she cannot lead the way. Get in front.”

Isn’t it time to tell your story? Here’s how to submit to Fearless Females Forum. Or, tell a story to your BFF, a child you know, a colleague you want to get closer to, or a mentee you want to help succeed. Storytelling is the most powerful, most freeing, most human thing you can do.

Challenge yourself to tell a story a day. Go on, make herstory, history, or simply make someone’s day!

Unknown

Featured image Herstory the greatest story never told via www.etsy.com

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