SHUT UP ALREADY: The Right to Tell Your Story

by P. Braithwaite

I’m writing this on the subway. I’m tired and irritated and, as if that isn’t enough, I was just bombarded with 15 minutes of religious subway testimonial.

What’s subway testimonial, you ask? Well, it has different forms (sometimes its a crazy woman yelling passages from the bible), but today, an entire gaggle of midwestern Christians came onto the subway and the ring leader (a heavy-set blonde woman wearing a too-tight “believe in God” t-shirt) kept asking the people  in her group, “what’s your story? How’d you come to God?” She said it like she didn’t know their stories, like she was some über cool jazz musician who was bumming a cigarette outside of a bar. It was contrived and awkward and weird.  It was something out of a poorly made public service commercial about the dangers of meth.

It was amusing though. I can say that…

So anyway, off the heavy-set girl went, with her practiced New York attitude, and each young person in her group shared the story of how they came to God. The other people on the subway were captivated and no one seemed to notice the smirk on my face. In the midst of my eavesdropping disinterested smirking, I had the following thought: why are you smirking? How is what they are doing any different than what you do on the blog?  What makes your story worth telling?

I hate when I catch myself being an asshole…

I consoled myself by saying that I don’t trap people on subways and recite blog entries (though I would of I had bigger lady balls), but the truth is we all have a right to tell our stories. We have a right (and maybe an obligation) to stand firmly in our truths and scream them from the mountaintop. Each on teach one, or some shit…

It’s my fear that no one wants to hear my stories or that no one will accept my truth. Smirking at these kids was a silent judgement of myself — see how annoying these kids are, Tia? That’s how people are looking at you. No one wants to hear about God…

So, as I wipe the smirk off my face and lovingly hope those annoying awesome Christian kids enjoy the rest of their “mission trip in Brooklyn,”  I remember the Marianne Williamson quote I heard the other day –every life is a platform.

Every subway is a platform as well, I guess.

How is your life a platform today?

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