We Are Not Alone | Guest Post From Jen Lee

When we sit down to tell our stories, we are not alone.
We come to the page, to the stage, to the drawing board and to the microphone
with a past, with rules, with piles of what we think are lessons learned
and more I Told You So's than we would like to admit.

A choir of other voices sings at our backs, rings in our ears
as we decide which stories to tell and how to tell them,
what pictures to take and how to share them.
(Or perhaps one or two overbearing soloists take the lead.)

Who could you be without them?
Oh, I don't mean without them, exactly, because they may never go away.
But what if there is a way to slip out from under their oppressive thumbs,
to make a sort of truce and live at peace with them?
What if you learned how to dismantle what's left of your cage,
bar by beautiful bar?

I don't know how one acquires authority on such things,
I just know what it is to have a story.
To live inside a journey that never ends,
because one can always be more free.

BIO | Jen Lee is a Brooklyn-based writer, photographer and a regular performer in NYC's storytelling scene, including The Moth Radio Hour and The Moth Mainstage. Jen is an instructor for Squam Art Workshops and the creator of Finding Your Voice. She invites you to follow her on Twitter, and to download The Story Catcher.

FROM ALI | Jen's new book/CD Finding Your Voice is highly recommended as a way to explore, grow, and dive deeper into your own personal storytelling. It comes in a great little 3-ring binder with prompts and explorations and includes a 52-minute audio-CD which includes insights and stories. Read more about Finding Your Story here.

Jen - I am super proud of you.

15 thoughts

  1. Marcie

    2011-04-08 08:10:25 -0400

    It's so true..and so inspiring. We do come to our lives with years of voices in our heads. It's up to us to sort thru and untangle and take what we need..and make them our own. Wonderful post!

  2. Lisa W.

    2011-04-08 08:16:51 -0400

    Just watched the video tour...will be checking this out...thanks Ali for showing us all this "good" stuff that we may never know about without your information. Thanks!!!

  3. kelly barton

    2011-04-08 08:25:26 -0400

    jen lee.....i pretty much think you hung the moon.
    those "i told you so's" have followed me thru life.
    just as they have most others. but for you to
    put it so simply. you filled me up.

    and....i know that i have said i run from you
    class, because i don't want that teared stained face
    in the woods (wink) but i look forward to the day
    i can sit with you and write away releasing those
    "i told you so's"

    you make me want to be better. what a gift you are.

    and thank you ali for sharing jen lee with each of us.


  4. Theresa

    2011-04-08 10:53:22 -0400

    morning Ali.....I wanted to ask a question about your project life.....I've been looking at my book,thinking I may need to continue it,eventually, in another binder, if it continues to get too thick.....Have you heard of anyone else or have you come across this problem? thanks for any suggestions...Theresa

  5. Eniko

    2011-04-08 11:53:49 -0400

    Beautiful words by Jen Lee! Thank you so much for sharing this post!

  6. Jen Lee

    2011-04-08 12:30:40 -0400

    So happy to be here with you, Ali, and your amazing community!

  7. Shannon

    2011-04-08 22:06:59 -0400

    This is just what I needed today! Awesome!

  8. Catherine Denton

    2011-04-09 00:25:43 -0400

    Felt like you were in my head. Amazing! Thank you, Ali and Jen.
    My Blog

  9. amy

    2011-04-09 11:42:19 -0400

    Amazing! I have been studying "story" so this post and new workbook offering by Jen comes at a wonderfully perfect time! Story is incredibly powerful. I'm standing on my desk chair - raising my skinny latte in your honor! Thank you - you two!

  10. grace moore

    2011-04-09 16:41:22 -0400

    jen, my favorite part about reading your words is hearing your voice. it melts me every time. love you x0

  11. Gypsy Chaos

    2011-04-10 01:12:16 -0400

    Jen, I haven't wandered through the links yet - I had to pause and comment first.

    I have been struggling for far too many years to find that me within the stories, stories others have created about me, stories I know aren't the best of me yet stories, strong as any jail bars, holding me tight.

    Those stories helped put me on the 'you are laid off' list a year ago. Choosing ACT as my OLW, I am slowly breaking through the muck though still unable to unlock the prison cell door. Your story seems perfectly timed to help me find a key or two to start the unlocking process.

    Off to see what Find Your Voice says to me...
    Ali, thank you once again.

  12. Beth R.

    2011-04-11 07:59:00 -0400

    Wow, that is all I can say right now.
    Sorry to say I have never heard of Jen Lee. But how did she get in my head?
    I am also not a very "deep thinker" by nature but wow ...this was powerful.
    I truely am at a loss for words.
    I must read this again.

  13. Liz Ness

    2011-04-12 21:28:21 -0400

    I love Finding Your Voice (I've been calling it a class, but it's more of a shift in perspective). And, all of Jen's words are so true and important--especially, right now for me.

    Personally, I'm going through some growing pains and trying to let go of perfectionism I didn't even realize I had brewing within. With this new awareness, I feel I'm at the precipice and ready to jump towards something really great. And, it's exciting!

  14. Catherine Denton

    2011-10-28 20:44:28 -0400

    "What if you learned how to dismantle what’s left of your cage,
    bar by beautiful bar?" Stunning! This refreshed my soul today. Thank you Ali and Jen.
    My Blog

  15. Creative Photo Albums

    2012-02-21 19:02:16 -0500

    Great thoughts shared here. By the way, Ali, a friend of mine is getting married and her color inspiration is chocolate brown with pink. I was wondering, if you have any ideas about making an elegant wedding invitation and guestbook? The theme is chocolate.

    Annabella Merlin

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