I always have a choice. I may not be able to prevent negative events in my life, but I can choose how I respond to them.
As an adult, I have chosen to view my childhood adversity from the angle of my overcoming. This doesn’t erase my personal history or the existence of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in my life, but it does take me from a victim mentality (this is still happening and it will never end) to a survivor mentality (even if this is still happening, I will persevere).
It’s a doozie. Most of us slip back and forth between the two roles, often wearing both at once. But “survivor” is a present-tense positive. It is an action. And it is my choice.
For me, surviving means writing. It means sorting my baggage and cleaning it up on the page. Every time I bring my fingertips to the keyboard or pen to paper, I get to choose the words with which my story is told, and which parts are most important. With a few swift keystrokes, my story is transformed from personal horror to personal victory.
I teach writing for the same purpose. My classes and private coaching are designed to support individuals in transforming trauma by releasing it on the page. Recovery happens when we own our stories. Releasing our trauma is the first step in recovering our joy.
That’s my goal when I talk about surviving our stories. It is also the miracle I see in #ShareInspireConquer. We have a choice: we can stay committed to the same patterns and stories, or we can transform our stories in order to create positivity for ourselves and others. #ShareInspireConquer is a positive social movement that encourages us to pay our triumphs forward, to survive our stories on a global scale in hopes of reaching one other person who is trying to make that leap from victim to survivor.
How are you surviving your story? Is it with the help of inspirational bloggers like Thomas Ives? Use #ShareInspireConquer and #SurviveYourStory on Twitter to share the positive choices you have made in authoring your own story. Remember, you get to choose what’s important.
Shawna Ayoub Ainslie is a writer and coach who teaches expressive writing for release and recovery. This post is part of her Survive Your Story Guest Exchange on The Honeyed Quill. Her work has appeared in Huffington Post, Mogul, Stigma Fighters, Role Reboot, [wherever] and The Manifest-Station among other places. When she’s not editing Open Thought Vortex Magazine, you can find on Twitter, Facebook or hosting #LinkYourLife.