Becoming a storyteller challenged me to seek truth in everything I experienced in life, with the people in it, and the thoughts I had about myself.
Stories have been a huge part of my life since childhood. I moved around a lot due to my father’s career in the Air Force. Living on three continents afforded me the opportunity to experience life on many different levels. I saw how vast storytelling was through various cultures, people, experiences, TV shows and movies, and books. I grew up absorbing those stories as entertainment, unaware of the part they would one day play in my reality.
That day came shortly after the end of my own enlistment in the military. The year was 2000. I felt lost. Confused. I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life. And as I sat at the desk on a temp assignment playing Yahoo! Spades and surfing chatrooms on BlackPlanet while eating a bowl of oatmeal, I said out loud, “There’s got to be more to life than this.”
The answer came in the form of an unfamiliar voice—a voice that had an urgent conviction that I needed to pay attention to. “Monica Brown, that’s my name, ask me again and I’ll tell you the same.” I raised the lid on the office laptop, opened a blank document, transcribed what the voice said. As she spoke, I wrote. And wrote day after day after day until those pages became a book.
That may have been the beginning of the story, but when I finished the book, that line was nowhere to be found. Neither was Monica. It wasn’t until recently that I discovered the purpose of that line: It was about identity. Monica knew who she was. I didn’t.
Writing wasn’t my identity; it was how I discovered mine. It’s how I discovered who I was then and who I am now. Writing gave me my identity and it gave me my voice, in every way imaginable. I learned that my voice matters. My experience(s) matter. Who I was matters. Who I am matters. What I do matters. And I’ve been discovering more about me that matters since—through words and images.
I am an explorer of the human condition and lived experience. My mission is to tell stories that encourage others to see, think, feel, and experience life in new and better ways. Find me going where the story goes.
If you don’t know who you are, you will define yourself by your experiences.