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. So 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, my gram’s writing about the event (shared in her book), and then 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 that night, and I had carried pieces for years that were really dark and devastating. To realize that what I had believed might not have been true was so freeing. I was finally able to let go, and I felt it immediately. One of my narrators was losing their voice.
After that experience, I knew that I needed to keep going. Since then, I have spent 3 years writing my life stories and I’m still teasing apart pieces as they arise. I have interviewed my parents asking questions that have always weighed on my mind. 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 designed and created learning materials to introduce new thinking and concepts in a way that felt easy to consume, were useful, and made a difference in people’s day to day lives. I was an instructional designer and consultant for a large school board in Ontario. Taking my background in how the brain learns, human-centred design, and what makes learning effective, I designed websites and created materials so busy educators had a place to learn that gave them flexibility and choice. 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 life experiences on their own terms, women can choose what materials to engage with that are meaningful and relevant to them. 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. Here are some of the things I love… yin yoga, spending hours in a bookstore or favourite coffee shop, walks beneath trees or sitting next to a lake. I love the warm light of a bedside lamp, a string of patio lights, or the flicker of a candle. I love time spent at the cabin with my family and friends. I love wandering museums and art galleries. Scandinavian design. I love Scandinavian everything (art, their education system, love of nature, I could go on a roll here…) I like sushi. Drinking wine with friends. An earl grey tea with milk and sugar. Peonies. raspberries. Finding ‘good’ mail in the mailbox. Lattes. A good story. The smell of a campfire. Cinnamon buns, scones… any sweet pastry really. Comedy, inappropriate jokes amongst friends, and being silly. Spending time with kids and seeing how playful and smart they are. Time alone. I love time alone. Writing. Making things. I’m inspired by people who think differently or are brave enough to share what’s in their heart. I live for slow Saturday mornings and those who make a difference in the world. I’m good at making space for people, bringing together multiple ideas and pieces to create something new, and being creative and crafty. 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…