What’s in a Narrative

Every day we are faced with our own personal and idiosyncratic narratives as well as the broader and more universal narrative that engulfs us all. In our current global situation, it’s only normal and natural to question meanings of events and to search for answers to questions such as ‘Why is this happening?’, ‘Why now?’, ‘Why them?’ and ‘Why me?’. 

Over the past couple of weeks, these questions have been swirling around my head as I’m sure they have in yours too. But in a time of such uncertainty, is it possible to find comfort in the unravelling of a story that we are no longer in control of? This question leads to the more important one of, ‘What’s in a narrative?’    

I’m someone who likes to believe there’s a reason for everything that happens in our lives. I know this can often be considered a naive and inexperienced coping mechanism, but I believe that, even if we cannot identify the reason at that time, a lesson can always be learnt from what we go through and, therefore, there is always a reason for it. So why are our individual and collective narratives being disrupted out of the blue? What can we do with all this pain, fear and frustration that’s slowly rising within us all?

I have found it important and, surprisingly, comforting to remind myself that a worthy narrative must always come to the disruption of equilibrium. Whether that disruption is a temporary dip in the story or a permanent ending, a disarrangement of facts and circumstances always occurs. Let’s focus on the concept of ‘ending’ for a moment; nobody starts a book, film or play to never see it’s ending. We all purposefully delve into art for its ending and when we find something adequate enough to dive into, we go into it expecting an ending. Humans are fascinated by the concept of ending. We always have been, but we have never really paid attention to the necessity of an ending and the value its disruption can bring.

“All good things must come to an end” is something I’ve heard since I was young. As you can imagine, I didn’t like it when I was little, but as I got older I realised two things; the first being that all good things must come to an end to make way for even more exciting things. Secondly, I have learnt that bad things also come to an end but, most importantly, that the bad never really makes way for more bad. Good always follows bad.

In this very moment in history, the narrative is evolving itself. For the moment, we no longer hold as much control as we used to which means that we are not needed on the main stage. Therefore, we must venture out and explore the unexplored area surrounding the stage. We must take time to re-evaluate, to re-construct and to regain faith in our own mini narratives to then, one day in the near future, be able to share them with the world on the main stage once again. If we all take time to nurture our single narratives, being mindful of those of others and if we allow ourselves to redefine interludes and appreciate endings, we will be able to create the greatest play the main stage has ever seen.  

There will certainly be an end to this tumultuous narrative. And, like any ending or disruption, whether good or bad, there will always be a lesson on the other side.

This is what’s in a narrative.

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