A memoir tears away labels and reveals the person underneath.
“It ain’t what they call you, it’s what you answer to.”W.C. Fields
As a book coach and ghostwriter, I have worked with many clients whom, if you chose not to look past their labels – “homeless,” “addict,” “junkie,” “depressed,” “overweight,” “blind,” “disabled” – you would be missing out on infinite wisdom and invaluable lessons from their lives. Fortunately, each person rewrote the story of their life, rose from the ashes, and, by writing their memoirs, initiated a whole new conversation about who they really are. The homeless person became a college student with a 4.0 GPA, a nationally renowned motivational speaker, advocate, and political agent of change. The addict transformed into a highly successful business owner and thought leader. The blind and physically disabled man became a three-time world Brazilian Jiujitsu champion. These are only some examples of the miraculous stories I’ve had the privilege to hear and help document in books, during my career.
If you’re a person who has ever had a label attached to you, whether unfairly by society or as a result of your own actions, sharing your story gives you the opportunity to introduce people to the individual underneath that label. Story shines a light behind the outer shell of what people “think” they know about you, or, what people think they know about “people like you.”
A memoir is your opportunity to rip off the labels and tell your story.
If the label is indeed a result of your own life choices, decisions that you’ve since learned and moved on from, then a memoir is the opportunity to redeem yourself as well as anyone who has ever judged you. It’s an opportunity to educate.
It’s also an opportunity to use your story to reach out to other people who share your label(s) and tell them they’re more than that. They’re a complete story too. And if they’re currently struggling, it’s a chance to let them know about the light at the end of the tunnel – or the middle of it – wherever you are in your transformation. I personally think that at any given time, like my clients, we are all somewhere in the midst of a transformation, from some variation of dark to some variation of light. We are all on a spectrum of change, trying to find our way into the light.
A memoir is your opportunity to reach into the darkness, hold hands with others like you, others who share your labels, let them know that labels can be removed, that you’re okay, and they can be too. A memoir is YOUR chance to rewrite your story and change the conversation with yourself, and others!