The FACTS — where we were born, who our parents were, where we lived, who we met, where we went to school, where we worked and lived and places we visited, who we dated and married, etc. Some of these “facts” we remember, some are told to us by others. (This distinction, which is sometimes lost, may become important later.)
Then we have the STORIES we’ve told ourselves about those facts, which include how those facts felt to us. We create a narrative that stitches those facts and FEELINGS together in a way that makes them make sense, that give them MEANING. (I should say here that I believe the axiom, “Nothing has any meaning except the meaning we give it.”)
The stories often change over the years — intentionally or unintentionally. We forget things. We remember others very vividly — but are we remembering the facts or the feelings or the meanings we assigned to them — at the time or later?
We carry this bag of facts, feelings, and meanings around with us everywhere. Sometimes we take items out and examine them. Some get lost — forever, or until we are reminded of them by someone who was “there” at the time. We rearrange them and create different stories. Sometimes, when we do this, it changes the feelings we have. This process may be known as therapy. Or growith. Or madness.
The facts at this point are usually only starting points or reference points — if they are not forgotten or discarded completely.
Usually, every time we open the bag and examine the contents, something in the story changes — slightly or dramatically. Things fall out and disappear or get embellished for the audience we are sharing it with or just for ourselves.
Then there are the stories that we’ve told (ourselves and others) so many times they never change. Those are the most dangerous ones, because if we never reexamine them, they guarantee we cannot change.