This week I was challenged by Tiffany Crystal to write a post on something I have encountered or experienced that I’m pretty sure no-one else would have.
I really struggled to think of something.
I’m not the only person to fall down Mt Ngauruhoe. I’m not the only person to have scars all over their face.
I’m not the only person to run off stage crying before her solo song (oh god, I hope I’m not the only one…)
I’m certainly not the only person to have a bad relationship and a broken marriage.
I’m not the only one to have to face illness of loved ones or the suicide of close friends.
I’m not the only one to get in the middle of two massive teenage boys fighting and get them to back down (“Back off. Pretty soon you’re going to hit me, and I really don’t think you want to hit me. You need to back away”)
I don’t even know if I and my flatmates are the only ones to face a possum coming down our chimney and the police coming to our rescue (Yes, that happened. Yes, it was as embarrassing as it sounds)
I don’t even think I’m the only one to ever face the embarrassment of going for a cheek kiss when the kaumatua is going for a hongi and ending up kissing him on the nose.
This made me think about how ‘unique’ my life has really been. Maybe all the important and defining and funny moments are just the same as everyone else’s.
But then, a student said to me the other day:
“Miss, when are you going to write your autobiography?”
“Oh, I don’t think I’m nearly interesting enough for an autobiography!”
“I think you are, Miss.”
This made me think about stories, and voice. There are lots and lots of different stories in the world, but really only a few that get told time and again in different ways. What makes a story truly unique is the person telling it – their voice. We hear often as writers – no-one can tell your story the way you can. It’s the same for life. No-one can live your life the way you can.
It’s like if I had a whole heap of pretty blocks and paper and glitter and pipe cleaners and glue and asked a group of people to each make something that represented them. They would start with the same materials, and what they built might be similar, but each would be different, depending on their vision and their skill.
It’s actually really reassuring knowing that we share more than we don’t. When things were very bad with my marriage and directly after we separated, and I was struggling to understand what had gone wrong, I found a website where many people had shared very similar experiences to mine. It was at once saddening that others had gone through the same thing but a huge relief to see my story played out again and again by strangers. We don’t feel so alone in our experience if we know others have felt it too.
I am, however, possibly, the only one who has rung back a number to leave a message stating ‘Hi, it’s Clementine from the Auckland University History Department library here, just calling to let you know that Hitler and Germany invaded Warsaw on the 8th of September. Have a good day.’
So there’s that.
What about you? Have you encountered or experienced something you think it’s unlikely that others have? Let me know in the comments!