Healing through Storytelling

Healing through Storytelling

by Dani Scott

The way I’ve been met by community has deepened my capacity to see myself and process what I’m living in my now. I’ve been met by community through family, education, religion, intimacy, social networking, traveling, strangers, failure, friendship, cooking, reading, writing, adorning, joining a sorority, and wondering aimlessly. Community has diversified the way I’ve come to view life and it’s helped me begin to disassociate the way I view being seen, belonging, and being loved. It’s taught me that I do not have to shrink or hide who I am to be right where I am. It’s teaching me how to reparent myself with love and be loved by others. It’s shaping how I want and need to show up within community. The beauty of the diversity that community provides is that it’s not linear and it’s full of change. Leaning into both dynamics has allowed me the space to reparent myself in the most gentle and supportive way. A way where I’ve become freer to process my emotions, acknowledge the way I feel, and just be with myself as support in each ebb and flow.

I know that I’m not alone in experiencing the healing impact of community. I want to share with you how I’ve been able to reparent myself through the community of storytelling.

Sula, by Toni Morrison met me through the curiosity and awe of my best friend’s experience from reading the book. I was so intrigued, and I couldn’t get enough of her explaining this story of two best friends, a multitude of choices being made, and a story that I knew was going to change the way I saw myself and others. It was a beautiful story that opened a new door to the possibilities and depth of relating for me…and without consciously knowing, aided in reparenting my outlook on the subjective judgement of the words “good” and “bad”, “right” and “wrong”, “worthy” and “unworthy”. It helped me fiercely lean into my now. I don’t usually indulge in fiction reads, but because of my openness, I couldn’t resist the pull and need to lean further into Toni’s story which so loudly challenged my world of relating and fantasy. I now have the book that I’m reading through for myself, and I look forward to sharing more on it.

How should one relate? Is it something we know in our now or something that evolves as we continue to live with each other? I have often viewed relating through the eyes of the other. I was taught how to relate to someone else and followed those teachings so closely…to then realize that relating is an experience you live in and isn’t linear. – Sula widen my view on that.

Nelly and Sula are best friends in this novel, and their friendship is everything unorthodox, very unconventional in its nature, but so relatable in its realness. It’s their friendship that intrigued me to want to read this novel. A friendship where secrets are formed and kept, betrayal is experienced (from both parties), and an act of physical death becomes a spiritual rebirth. It wasn’t perfect: it was beautiful. It displayed hurt, yet desire; distance, yet longing; but ultimately unconditional love within. It was the initial forming of a foundation that held them to a love for one another that surpassed the understanding and rationale of the mind. It was their souls communing and personal community developing that made room for each of their journeys separately, yet collectively. It was their knowing love of one another that connected them through life’s ebbs and flow. It sparked further curiosity in my view of relating, friendship, and how I view community. It showed a glimpse of an unconditional love’s way of connecting whether it is initially realized or not.

Nonetheless, love for me is still being shaped. It was introduced through nurturing but alluring with fantasizing. I LOVE fantasizing and, in fact, as a little girl it felt empowering and was a lot of fun! It helped me move my mind to another side, a side I so desperately felt I needed. When it came to relating, I had lacked hope that love and “good” things would find me and stay. I struggled with change and accepting it’s certainty. I grew scared to receive love because of how vulnerable it was, so I would sabotage it.

Fantasizing became a safe space to play, to wonder, to be. So much so that it became my guidance to relating. As a result, I would choose relationships that weren’t satisfying out of fear of being left without love and/or I would choose relationships that were overly satisfying in the beginning because of the fantasy I attached to it. I would later find out who they were or weren’t and what I needed and didn’t. It was a disappointing cycle, a state of disillusionment, and I felt stuck. I wanted more than just a nurturing of my physical being. I wanted to be emotionally nourished the way I’m actively trying to reparent myself today.

I’ve learned and am still learning, alongside reminding myself, to not use fantasy unconsciously against myself. Instead, I’m allowing myself the space to channel it through the art of storytelling and writing in hopes to stimulate emotional connection and healing for others. I’m allowing myself to continue to find creative opportunities to meet with community, in the same way the story of Sula met me.

As fantastical as writing is for me (and hopefully fantasy-inspiring for you to read), it is also a space for me to process and see the illusion within myself. I now know that to be seen, to belong, and to be loved does not require me to neglect who I am and what I need and desire in each moment.


A note to self: Just be! You’ll move through and you’ll come out on another side, whatever that may be for you and your journey here and now.

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