Our lives are littered with stories. The fairy tales we are raised on. The stories we tell our friends at school about our lives, our families. The stories we tell ourselves about who we are and what we want.
We tell farces, tragedies, romantic comedies and thrillers. We tell stories to educate, entertain, moralise and comfort. We tell stories of our histories, and of our imagined futures.
Some people tell stories easier than others. Some of us rehearse those stories that are better understood, those that resonate easiest with our audience. Some of us tell stories to confuse and challenge our listeners. Some of us stand mute, holding our stories close; we are reluctant to let our stories be misheard, misunderstood. So many of us have felt misunderstood.
For Third Culture Kids, this is often because our lives have not followed a culturally coherent trajectory. Or because our stories have somehow been narrated with a voice not our own; meanings mutated and subtle characterisations trampled.
We can become consumed by the incoherence of our stories. Why don’t I make sense? Why does no one understand me? Why don’t I translate? Or perhaps our stories feel as though they have abandoned us somehow; taking on a life of its own and dragging us through unforeseen plotlines. We begin to feel our story doesn’t matter.
And yet your story does matter. I have had to privilege of hearing many stories, many Third Culture Kid stories. Your story matters because it’s a meaning-making work of art, a truth-seeking narrative. Your story matters because it precariously straddles multiple worlds and cultural realities.
Your story matters because it is yours; because you matter.