Why First Person Storytelling Absolutely Matters To Human Animals

Writing Our Painful Truths, Offers Others the Chance to See Their Own Painful Truths.

Storytelling made us human.

Storytelling evolved right alongside humans.

Some would argue it is because of storytelling we were able to evolve into the creatures we are today:

"Miming eventually led to spoken language, which probably coincided with the spread of humans from what is now the African continent across the rest of the world. Our ability to speak gave us the group-mindedness that helped us build larger communities and institutions. As we started to domesticate plants and animals 10,000 years ago, our population surged, enabling people to specialise because there was plenty of food to go around.[13] And this ability to specialise gave us time to invent one of the great tools of human civilisation: writing." Shawn Callahan

Research Merlin Donald suggested in 1991 that language was developed "basically for telling stories". That is a powerful claim.

Brian Boyd goes on to assert that language allowed humans to understand that "We each have different experiences: our unique past and memories, our unique capacities, dispositions, interests, and perspectives. Narrative allows us beyond the limits of our lives, gives us access to the experience of others, to the past, the private, the imagined."

Basically, without storytelling we'd still be chimps.

Think about that - storytelling not only gave us the ability to understand each other's thinking and feelings, it gave us the ability to plan, plot, and, sadly, to plunder.

Storytelling gives us space to see our own reality.

In a recent piece titled This Is Why I Keep Talking About My Chronic Disease, Shannon Ashley writes,

“I don’t want other people to end up like me either. If anything, I want my story to be a cautionary tale. I want folks to understand that if they don’t seek help right away and don’t advocate for themselves, they may be risking their lives.”

This, dear reader, is why I write about growing up and living as a neurodivergent human, my PTSD, narcissistic mother and ex, etc…

Because growing up under the reach of a narcissistic mother meant gaslighting was my birthright. It meant that meeting my ex and having him love bomb me felt normal, like ‘love’ feels — because it felt just like being a child who was totally dependent on my single mother for support and care and also totally unable to trust who my mother would be or how she would interact with me at any given moment. It meant that every time I dared to speak up I was told I was over reacting, that it didn’t happen, that I was being overly dramatic or demanding.

This in turn meant that I didn’t know any better when a man love bombed me while mistreating me and cajoling me to marry him much too quickly — it all felt like I’d been taught love feels.

If I’d been exposed to others writing about narcissistic parental abuse, I might, just maybe, would have seen what was happening and walked away instead of walking down the aisle with a horrible human being.

We must write our truths so that others can see the truth in their own lives.

So please, keep writing your stories and keep reading other's stories.

Stories matter.

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