I fell in love with the concept of narrative identity after stumbling across a research article by Dan McAdams. Narrative identity is defined as a person’s internalized and evolving life story that integrates a reconstructed past with an imagined future to provide life with some degree of unity and purpose. The idea that our identity is made up of inner stories that we selectively replay from our lives was incredibly fascinating and relatable. At the time, I was taking a life stories writing class and I knew that the stories I told myself were not healthy; they were dark. Death, bullying, and control were the main narrators and I was tired of it. I decided to start with death.
The first story I wrote was The Fire. I was in grade 8 when my Auntie Lyd and four cousins died in a tragic house fire. To write the piece, I pulled together excerpts from my grade 8 diary and my gram’s writing about the event. I asked my mom questions about specific memories. I couldn’t believe the discrepancies in our stories. We all had our own interpretations of what had happened. I realized that I had been carrying painful pieces for a long time that might not have even been true. I was finally able to let go and felt it immediately.
After that experience, I knew that I needed to keep going. Since then, I have spent 3 years writing my life stories. I’m still teasing apart pieces as they arise. I have interviewed my parents. I’ve captured stories shared by family members and have flipped through many photo albums. It has led to beautiful things. Learning to slow down. Gaining new perspectives of past experiences and letting go of heavy stuff. Learning to trust and listen to my heart. Mending relationships and feeling more grounded than ever. It wasn’t easy, and it so badly needed to happen. I started to wonder if women out there might find healing in their stories too.
In my past life, I was an instructional designer and learning consultant for a large school board in Ontario. I designed websites and created learning materials so busy educators (teachers, principals, and curriculum consultants) had a place to learn that gave them flexibility and choice. Keeping in mind how the brain learns and what makes learning effective, it was my job to make materials that were bite-sized, meaningful, and applicable in their day to day lives. I’ve recently decided to take this background and use it to design learning for women.
I’ve created a private online space, called The Search for Self, where women can delve into their stories to see what they can find. With privacy and freedom to explore their life experiences on their own terms, women can choose what materials to engage with and where they want / need to go. It’s a beautiful blend of storytelling, learning, finding meaning, and caring for ourselves through it all.
As for me and who I am, I always find that question hard to answer! We are so many quirky things all rolled into one. I love yin yoga and spending hours in a bookstore or a favourite coffee shop. I love the warm light of a string of patio lights and time spent at the cabin with my family and friends. I love wandering museums and art galleries. Scandinavian design. Drinking wine with friends. An earl grey tea with milk and sugar. Finding ‘good’ mail in the mailbox. A good story and cinnamon buns. Writing. Making things. I’m inspired by people who think differently or are brave enough to share what’s in their heart. And I hate wearing socks.
When I’m not devouring books or hiding in our bedroom to write at my desk, I am immersed in a loud, playful, and busy life. We have three little ones, ages 3, 4, and 5. I am married to the most generous and loving man. We love spending time outside with the kids and finding excitement and joy in the little things. I also love nap time and bed time 🙂
And I’m glad that you found your way here. If you’re curious about The Search for Self and would like to know a little more, here’s how it works…
Ready to start your Search for Self? Let’s get you started…