Trapped inside a story

When our baggage has been activated by a dreadfully familiar circumstance, it's helpful to look at this through the lens of storytelling. At that moment, we are trapped inside a very strange story that offers no escape. Here's how it looks from a storytelling vantage point:
  • Our baggage features us as the main character in the story. Everything that happens revolves around us. The point of anything that happens refers to how it affects us. We are the protagonist in the story that moves the narrative forward or holds up its progress.
  • Our back story dominates the storytelling. Most of the scenes are flashbacks to what happened previously to us. Our motivation is clearly connected to our past history. The dialogue dwells on retelling the back story rather than exploring the domains of the present, future or meaning.
  • The prior incident not only defined our character, it defined our world. What happens inside this story is limited to a tribe of other characters who share this damage. Together a microcosm is maintained where the same old problems reoccur like an invisible copier is making duplicate episodes.
  • We're faced with an antagonist who opposes our existence, shoots down our ambitions and blocks our progress. When our baggage has us living in our past, feeling victimized and stuck in a pattern, our antagonist defies our stagnation. When our baggage keeps us in a panic, driven to mad pursuits and hysterical, our antagonist squashes our ambitions.
  • The story never reaches a climax where the protagonist gets provoked to change character, outlook and self concept. What's been defined by the past remains the set in cement. The story goes nowhere and kills any suspense about how it will turn out in the end.
  • The story bores others to tears and wears out the welcome where interest had been shown. Others try to pay polite attention unsuccessfully while keeping their distance. There's no hooks to capture interest or ambitions to identify with.
  • The story has no ending. The plot movement goes in circles. The return to the beginning of the story fails to spiral up or down with new developments. The level playing field levels any hope of growing, changing, learning or creating.

When we apply a storytelling lens like I have just done, we have reframed the problem posed by baggage. We can create an escape and a new life. We become the author of a preferred narrative that reveals in a different character in a changed world. I'll explore that possibility tomorrow.

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