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The Stories You Tell Yourself

Updated: Mar 30

Photograph by Sinziana Susa

I wake up each morning with a decision to make. Shall I tell myself the story of an overweight, slightly past middle-aged woman who can find a cloud on any sunny day, or do I tell myself the story of a brave woman who does it all with love in her heart and jet engines in her shoes?

Most days, I do both. It really depends on the time of day and possibly what someone has said to me to remind me of my frailties so well embedded in me as Kid.

You see, my mom was a good woman who had her own set of frailties. Mental illness was the monster that lived inside her. All around her were very frightened of this monster and never knew how it would manifest itself. Overeating was a big one; scary overspending was another. Then, there were the fits of rage and violence that left collateral damage in the form of lamps, dishes, and scared daughters. And, of course, the words that bore a hole in your soul.

She had borderline personality disorder. It was a tricky disease for sure and one that we did not have a name for until all three of her daughters were all grown up. So many therapists and doctors offered drugs and other short-term solutions throughout the years. That was good as it gave me a chance to get to know her while the monster was in the closet. She once said, "you are my funny daughter and no one knows that comes from me. Is that the saddest thing anyone has ever said?" No one knew she was funny.

So, when I hear her voice telling me I am not good enough from all those years ago, I take a moment to create a new narrative to tell myself a better story based on the me of today.

I am good enough. My husband and kids love me as I am. My sisters are amazing women who also survived and thrived beyond the stories. I have changed people's lives and hearts by sharing my story and dedicating my life to helping others through my non-profit career. I am funny (actually, my younger sister is funnier) and I have used all those messages of "you are not good enough" to put the engines in my shoes to move forward every day.

I invite you to tell yourself a good story today. Take a trip in your mind to a place where you felt enough. You can't erase the old stories but you can, at least a little bit, give them a place where you can be OK.


Sharon is a wife, mom, sister, and business owner who bears the scars of growing up with mental illness in her family. She chooses to change the narrative for her children. She is a loyal friend who has the good fortune to be surrounded by a "tribe" who love her despite occasional open wounds.

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