“The privileged” see STORY as something that can be separated from them.

Story is an object they hold in their hands. They “carry their story.” They “bring their story.” They learn “their story.” They practice and improve “their story.” It is a performance to perfect, a piece of wood they are carving, a stone they are sculpting, a lego tower they are building.

STORY becomes something to use and brandish: bad ones exploit for their own gain, the good ones “leverage for social impact.”

However, in both cases, the elements of story exist removed, or at the very least can be held at arm’s distance and pulled apart from the everyday being of the person’s body and mind.

The second group, the “embodied”, live their story at all times. They can do no other.

They cannot observe it in their hands without bleeding. It is skin they cannot shed. It is tightly wrapped around their muscles and ligaments. There is and can be no distance. There is only being.

For this reason they cannot think of “leveraging” their STORY because their story is something they are at all times. Something to emerge from. Heavy like smog in Beijing and just as inescapable.

“Bring your story.” “Tell us your story.” “Inspire us with your story,” they will be asked. We want to be moved by “your story.”

But it is only to others’ benefit to describe what is to them a tailored molding of pain, stress or duress.

STORY is a very different thing to different people. For some it is a tool in their hand, for others it is taut skin. For some it is a way of becoming, for others it is as inextricable and inarticulate as being itself.


This story first appeared on medium https://medium.com/@samueldiffe/embodied-stories-cf9f66a8ee5c#.pytwyz9ow