There are so many ways to tell a story. Some people are loud and animated. While others are softer toned and rhythmic. And yet some are a hybrid; they will flow from one comedic belly aching moment into a serious and powerful historical testimony of the upmost importance. This artistic ability is one to truly be admired.
I have learned over the years that telling a story is not about just being heard, but it is about captivating the audience and making them yearn for more. It is about creating an electric atmosphere full of an emotion that you continue to charge with your stylistic “and then,” “I said,” “she said” electrodes of power. Some people are born with this talent, while many others learn it by watching some of the greatest storytellers around.
You always know who the best storyteller is in the room because everyone who was there always turns to that person and says, “Girl you tell it!”, while they hold themselves together, waiting for the anticipated punch lines. Storytellers are an energy that attract many, a light that draws in the crowd, and a magnet that people can hardly pull away from.
Then you have those historical storytellers who know the history of the entire family or the diaspora. They began to spit the facts about great-grandpa, and a great-aunt and a cousin who went to war and never returned. Or they begin to tell you about the warriors of forgotten African Kingdoms. They resurrect the spirits of men and women you may have never met but are proud to be connected to. Those type of storytellers make you feel so proud to be you, proud of your name and proud of the shoulders on which you stand on. Those storytellers are gems of the family and academia. They remain connected because they have a charge to continue to tell the story.
I have always loved to hear a good story. Whether from a friend, a family member or the verbal vision created by those who are deemed professionals in the art. Somehow the story strings pieces of your own imagination with the imagination of others and you have a powerful moment full of emotion. Just thinking about the electrical energy gives me the chills.
We have to reclaim our position as storytellers. Storytelling builds community, builds connections and builds a human coalescence. When you tell the story, you are in control of how everyone around you views the narrative. In order to restore, empower and progress, we have to regain that control. The next time you are around a group of people, take a look at the story being told. If you see that the story is not one which will uplift and inspire, take control and infuse the room with the emotion that will make that moment memorable.
Take control of the story. Be you. Do you. Tell your own story. On your own terms.