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  • The tales are telling themselves, sweet stories that bleed through the cracks in my heart. They sing of distance and dance with deception. These are not the stories that touch the truth. The truth hides like a beast in my belly, sucking at my soul. It threatens to pull my organs free of my body with every memory that swells in my brain.
    These are the tellings that twist me in terror and leave me for dead, the stories that sit empty on my tongue holding my hand hostage, cramping every finger as the pain pushes through the pen.



    When I think of Walden Pond I don’t think of navel gazing, it’s a glorious example of self-reflection.We develop a more positive self by reviewing our thoughts and actions and their consequences, creating a daily balance sheet. It’s not a complacent preoccupation with self to the exclusion of all else but a view of self in the context of all else, our relationships, our community, our global landscape, our inner demons and angels. Without it, we are just another clog in the universal flow. It’s an abdication of our creative power, responsibility and the wisdom gained from our unique experience. We are the rock rather than the seed. We become words rather than the story.

    Years ago, my mentor shared that there was nothing wrong with an attentive and discriminating look in the mirror but nothing was to be gained by staring.

    I’ve gained much by participating in this community, rich with self-reflection, so rich that my pendulum has swung to the extreme again. I am judging what I have to offer only in the context of what others here offer. I’m more interested in my words than in my story. Rereading one of my first posts, Meet Me As I Am, reminded me why I was here.

    “If you spend countless years piecing together a self left scattered over the landscape of your past, when you finally see the reflection of that self in the mirror it is akin to finding the Holy Grail. You can’t imagine anyone asking you to sacrifice your identity for the comfort and companionship of your peers. You will not shout nor will you whisper but you will never be silent again. For the first time you dare to hope that rather than being a mute observer in your own life you can be accepted into a community. You can belong.
    
When the time comes to reach out, to be known, to speak your truth and let all that makes you who you are stand tall on your tongue, you realize the choice is yours. It has always been yours. You breathe deep and you hear yourself say “My name is Katie. I hope we can be friends.”
    
I came to Cowbird because it was an interesting concept. But I found a true community here. The courage and artistry of the members has inspired me to share not just what I am but who I am. We are all broken and beautiful. Some have found the shine of the sun, others are still looking. When we touch each other with our stories we strengthen the bond of our humanity and light the spark of spirit that unites us. You have given me the courage to say “My name is Katie and I am a survivor.”

    I tell my story not as complacent navel gazing but in the hope that I’ll continue to uncover a more authentic self, a self that will enrich my relationships, in the hope that my survival will benefit my community.
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