What’s Your Story?

I am not a storyteller.

I have no ability to weave words together into this beautiful, heart-warming spoken speech, captivating the human mind. When I speak, I often falter, I stumble, and I have this awful habit of leaving sentences unfinished.
I constantly hand over the responsibility to others, finish my sentences, finish my story.
My grandfather is a majestic storyteller.
He says stories like he is living and breathing them at the moment of the telling, he describes things with perfect details. I love hearing him speak, I love listening to his stories.
I spent many a day wishing upon that skill, dreaming that I’d wake up with the ability to tell stories like my grandfather.
To be able to give myself to the story.
I keep myself to the written page, and I am wholly unqualified to speak a story, but I so wish I was.
Telling a story is beautiful, almost as sweet as hearing one.
It creates a connection, a warmth, a loving bond between teller and listener.
A connection I dream about making with so many people I see.
I hide behind a computer screen and words that I know someone might read, but the connection is forged.
Perhaps people feel connected to me through my words, but the wires are cut off, I don’t know if they are out there. I don’t know that they exist.
We connect through stories.
Stories are what have connected us through generations. They ensure that we don’t forget the hard times, and ensure that we remember the good times. Stories are a reminder to the listener of other humans, and the way they live.
It creates empathy.
Think back to the last conversation you had with someone you barely know.
Stories are the way we create bonds, telling of the times you triumphed or the times that you fell.
We are not humans when we speak of our job or our education, but tell a story, and you are a human.
I shrink in fear of sharing stories for what if I try and it still does not create that connection because my words are awkward and my story is just not that funny?
For as long as I live, I will share stories best when I write them. Away from a watchful gaze, expectations, or polite laughter.
A story is only worth it’s weight if there are listeners, though.
Are you listening?
As a child, I always dreamed of going on a road trip. I have a habit of that, I’m afraid, dreaming of things that I don’t really want. Like the dog I always hoped my parents would buy for me, despite that I was quite terrified of them. My dreams have always been a little too far out of reach, a little unreasonable. Why was going on a road trip in that same category? Well, I always suffered from car sickness. The car was not a place my body liked to be, and it rebelled on long rides. Yet, despite the obvious discomfort I always felt, a road trip was on my bucket list.
I moved on from my fear of dogs and my car sickness, but I still don’t have a dog. I did go on a road trip, though.
It was August, and after a long summer of working, three of my sisters and I were heading to the West Coast. We did a modern day road trip – we flew to our first destination.
The road trip was everything you would assume it would be.
Full of laugh-until-you-cry laughter, sweltering heat, hundreds of tourists and ridiculously breathtaking views.
The one thing we had failed to check before we went on the trip was the weather. We, like the rest of the tourists who chose these destinations that week, had no idea that there was something called Monsoon Season.
Yet the dates we had chosen to spend in the dessert turned out to be the only time it rains.
We were lucky, most days.
That is, until we hit the Grand Canyon.
We hiked down in to the Canyon, and it was brilliant and beautiful, and everything we ever heard.
The way up was treacherous and exhausting, and then it began to rain.
Then the thunderclaps began and the lightning lit up everything around us.
Until the end of days, my sisters will not believe that I was not afraid, despite the amount of times I repeat it. I promise, I wasn’t afraid. It was the closest I had ever been to lightning, and I was wet, tired and hungry, but not afraid. I don’t know why, I’m the furthest from fearless.
We made it. We got out of the canyon, made it back to our car and sat in soaking wet silence, recovering from our escape, convincing each other that now we were safe. Who hasn’t heard that cars are the safest place to be in a storm? We all clung to that, hoping it was fact.
There. That is my story.
Take it or leave it, but I beg you, try to take it.
Why should human connection be only for those who are skilled with small talk, or are naturally gifted story-tellers?
Leave your own story here for me to listen to. I want to hear a story, a story about you, a story about the person who is reading this.
Create a human connection, a connection that will help us all fall together rather than apart in this messy world we call our home.
A story is only worth it’s weight if there are listeners, though.
I am listening.
PS. all photo credits go to the creators of them, and I only found them through google.com/images.


  1. Etti,

    Your story is amazing. Everything you write seems amazing to me, not just because it’s relatable, but because when I read your posts I start to think about things differently, and feel things I haven’t felt before.

    I want my true story I write to be an amazing one, but as soon as it’s ready, I’ll write it.


    1. Thank you, thank you Liora! If my words move people to think, then I have accomplished a tiny part of my goal, so thank you for letting me know. I look forward to reading your story, and have no doubt it will be amazing.


  2. Dear Etti,

    I read your meaningful piece on Chabad.org and followed the link to your blog.

    I am moved by your gifted writing and even more by your courage to share, your sensitivity and maturity.

    Please keep up your writing. I think it’s exquisite.
    And please don’t give up on making this world better. On righting wrongs.

    You are a treasure to be cherished by your family and the entire Chabad community.

    Go mechayil el choyil!

    Shani Katzman


    1. Wow, thank you so much! I have so much to live up to in just these words. I really appreciate you taking the time to share your beautiful sentiments about my writing. I’m honored that you found it so meaningful.


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