Our Stories, Our Anchors

by Rebecca A. Watson on February 23, 2015

in characters, Creative Writing, expat, goals, life, writing

“Everybody wants to tell their story of origin, whether it’s a nation, a people, even a couple.”

The words rang in my head as I lay in bed, trying to sleep. A group of friends and I had a pretty heavy conversation over brunch earlier, and I played it back now, in this quiet moment.

Candlelight streamed up through my lamp shade, a doughnut shadow puppet on the ceiling. What is my story? I wondered. Then stopped.

I knew — told it a million times. Inspiring and sometimes unbelievable yes, but I couldn’t help but think if continuing to tell it, even to myself, keeps me stuck.

Like an anchor, no matter how far I am, I can only paddle so far away from it. And my big dreams, my aspirations, are a long way from my beginnings.

paddle mountain

I breathed loudly, turned on my side and blew out the flame. Maybe I should adjust my goals. The darkness of a city night fell on my face — I dug in my nightstand for my sleepmask.

That doesn’t seem quite right. That seems like spotted-pig logic.

How about this? How about: What is my story NOW? In this moment? 

It’s a good question, but my muscles twitched, telling me this is the kind of question-and-answer session I will not remember in the morning. If I didn’t write it down, I’d wake up with a faint memory, like a smell I know but can’t quite place, any brilliance lost to the gauntlet of sleep.

I rolled over another time, trying to convince myself this time is different, that I’ll remember. It’s a familiar dialogue. I sighed, and my hand reached blindly for the notebook and pen on my bedside table.

I wrote a quick note, eyes closed, pulled the blankets up to my chin and breathed deep. Next scene: Is that my alarm or Sante’s?

It’s 7 a.m. and light out — the sun showing up earlier and earlier, bringing with it song birds and white-capped wildflowers. I got up, threw my rain coat over my PJs and walked Neka, trying hard to let her have fun without letting her eat everything in the grass.

How do you say no to that face?

How do you say no to that face?


I came back inside and, still in my comfy pants, began to make the bed. My eyes catch the words: what is my story NOW? I smiled, grateful both for the fact that I wrote down the thought and that I didn’t follow down the dark path that night often steers me toward.

Because I’m an expat hiking in the Black Forest, exploring the mountains of Austria and eating my way through Italy and France. Prague is on our agenda for March. This story has exciting twists, new characters, important life lessons and goals achieved.

Suddenly I see I’m on my mountain, climbing to the summit. And it’s time for coffee.

This is part of my 2015 goal to write more and differently. If you want to read more posts like this, click here.

Photo Credit: Nicolas Valentin

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