My Story

posted in: Blogging, Life, Writing 72 comments

This time of the year is one of my favourite and least favourite – yes, it’s blogging conference season when people get to meet each other face to face, old friends reconnect, new friends are made, blogging mojo is restored, and photos are abundant on social media. 

This is the fourth consecutive year I’ve missed BlogHer. I should be used to it by now, but the truth is, it’s harder than ever to know that I’m not there. Through the years, my friendships with many have deepened, and the thought of not being able to hug their faces off and be in their real presence, hurts. 

However, it is also a favourite time of the year because I get to witness my tribe getting together, their love and friendship finding ground in real life, and the important messages they share through being there.

One message that I saw repeatedly was this: Tell Your Story. 

I’ve been mired in mixed messages of my own this year, with regards to this blog and my writing. I keep clawing my way out and reminding myself why I keep going. The love of the written word, the love of connecting, the love of having something that is mine, but can be shared at the same time. 

Tell Your Story. 

I read many wonderful writers daily. I love their stories. Their memories of childhood, their parents, what happened last week or yesterday, their lessons, their experiences. 

I feel like I have no stories of my own. My memories of childhood are selective and non-worthy of telling. They are uninteresting even to me, how can they possibly be of interest to you?

But I am wrong. I do have a story.

Stories have to be told quote

My story is one of a little girl whose childhood memories consist of Enid Blyton, Nancy Drew, and a nanny who left when I was 7, changing my world as I knew it then.

My story is one of a girl who got mouthy as a tween, who loved reading entertainment magazines and dreamed of becoming a journalist.

My story is of a girl who felt insecure about her looks, weight and intellect, at the age of 16, but tried out as an airline attendant at 18 (and made it by decided to forgo it).

My story is of a young woman who left home at 17 to a city two hours away, then halfway across the world at 19. 

My story is of a young woman who stumbled into a beloved profession, and made a career out of it for 10 years.

My story is of a woman who made many mistakes, dated the wrong guys, and had her heart broken at 24.

My story is of a woman who met her forever love at 28, married at 31 and didn’t figure out what the rest of her life would look like right there and then.

My story is of a woman who decided to have a child at the age of 33, after years of declaring that “no way I can be a mother”.

My story is of a woman who’s about to be a mother of FOUR, who vacillates between feeling ready to feeling completely unprepared.

I have a story. It is complex and simple. It is filled with love and laughter, bitterness and tears. It is light and dark. It is mine. 

And I hope to be able to tell most of it here someday soon. 

What is your story?

Alison Lee is a former PR and marketing professional turned work-at-home mother. After a 10-year career in various PR agencies, and of the world’s biggest sports brands, Alison traded in product launches and world travel, for sippy cups, diapers, and breastfeeding. Alison's writing has been featured on Mamalode, On Parenting at The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, Everyday Family, Scary Mommy, and She is one of 35 essayists in the anthology, My Other Ex: Women’s True Stories of Leaving and Losing Friends. In 2012, she founded Little Love Media, a social media consultancy specializing in blog book tours, and because she doesn’t sleep, is an editor at BonBon Break, an online magazine. Alison lives in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia with her husband and four children (two boys and boy/ girl twins).

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  • July 28, 2014 Allie

    Of course you have a story! Tell it woman!!!! As the gifted and honest writer you are, you can make anything intriguing. Also, a lot of what we may think is mundane or boring about our stories, could be incredibly helpful or interesting to someone else.
    PS – you look great at 27 weeks!!! You’re getting there πŸ™‚
    Allie recently wrote…Born To Run For Love or Money? (Win the Book!)My Profile

    • August 18, 2014 Alison

      You’re right, people see our stories differently from the way that we do.
      I’m slowly digging those stories out…..

  • July 28, 2014 Janine Huldie

    I can so relate to your story on more levels then one to be honest, as not only have I also missed the last few BlogHer’s, but enjoyed watching so many that I love and follow daily enjoy their time their, but I too have a story, which oddly enough has similar time frame to yours, even down to getting my heart broken into pieces at the age of 24, but picking myself up to get married at the age of 29 and becoming a first time mom at the age of 32. But again my story like yours doesn’t end there. Love how you put this and shared though and like I said can surely relate πŸ™‚

    • August 18, 2014 Alison

      Ah, parallel lives!

  • July 28, 2014 Maureen

    I love your stories, your journey Alison. Your words are always so beautiful, honest and genuine.
    Maureen recently wrote…Happy Father’s DayMy Profile

    • August 18, 2014 Alison

      Thank you, Maureen.

  • July 28, 2014 Natalie

    You do have a wonderful story, and I love hearing about it! πŸ™‚
    Natalie recently wrote…Taking Time for UsMy Profile

    • August 18, 2014 Alison

      I’m glad at least one person does! πŸ™‚

  • July 28, 2014 Kerstin

    I will be here to read every word of your story. xoxox
    And – if you EVER make it to BlogHer or any other conference, let me know πŸ˜‰
    Kerstin recently wrote…WildfireMy Profile

    • August 18, 2014 Alison

      Thank you. And you bet I will!

  • July 28, 2014 Kir

    I love every chapter of your story and you tell it with love,humor, honesty and emotion.

    I’d read it over and over again.
    Kir recently wrote…It’s Strange You Never KnewMy Profile

    • August 18, 2014 Alison

      I can always count on you, I know. xoxo

  • July 28, 2014 Laura

    You know I relate to you about watching conferences happening!

    You definitely have a story. I feel like this too – especially trying to balance the story I want to tell with the story people want to hear and the story that those I love won’t be negatively affected by. But we need to keep on telling it!
    Laura recently wrote…Preparing For MarriageMy Profile

    • August 18, 2014 Alison

      We do. And we can never, ever make EVERYONE happy at the same time. The only thing we can do is to tell OUR truth.

  • July 28, 2014 tracy

    I love every single piece of your story. You’re incredible, my friend. xo
    tracy recently wrote…FiveMy Profile

    • August 18, 2014 Alison

      As are you, my friend! xoxo

  • July 28, 2014 Amanda

    Thank goodness. It’s an amazing story told and lived by a beautiful spirit.
    Amanda recently wrote…Testing Body ImageMy Profile

    • August 18, 2014 Alison

      Amanda, thank you.

  • July 29, 2014 Tove M Stakkestad

    I would LOVE to hear your story – the good, the bad and the ugly. It sounds like we have some overlapping aspects of our stories (I left home at 18 and moved across the world – never to return). I think I am scared to write my story – and like you – I wonder if anyone would ever care to hear it. Write yours – I want to hear it!
    Tove M Stakkestad recently wrote…End Teething Pain Once & For All!My Profile

    • August 18, 2014 Alison

      Your story sounds fascinating!

  • July 29, 2014 Andrea

    Oh, Alison. I just love that you’ve opened yourself up here. I can’t wait to hear all of your stories.
    Andrea recently wrote…Dear College Students With Crappy Summer JobsMy Profile

    • August 18, 2014 Alison

      I hope they’ll be interesting! And thank you.

  • July 29, 2014 Tamara

    I missed BlogHer too. If it comes to the east coast again, I’m probably in, but California is a whole other brand of crazy. (I would have loved it, though)
    I had my heart broken at 24 too. Badly. In fact, we’re coming up on its ten year crapiversary.
    Luckily I got over it eventually!
    Tamara recently wrote…My Two Year Warranty Is Up.My Profile

    • August 18, 2014 Alison

      Ah, 24, the magical age. It’s so long ago for me!

  • July 29, 2014 Rorybore

    we all have a story, and I guarantee if you have got a story to tell: there is someone – somewhere – to whom that story is necessary. They will need to hear it. They may not know why, but it will change them in the telling.
    Rorybore recently wrote…Monday’s Music Moves Me: HomeMy Profile

    • August 18, 2014 Alison

      That is a REALLY great way to look at it.

  • July 29, 2014 AwesomelyOZ

    That’s a wonderful story πŸ™‚ I want to go to BlogHer at some point as well so I know the feeling of ‘missing out’! Your story is wonderful, I would love to hear why you left home at 17, did you go to college? Hope your pregnancy is going smoothly and there’s no way to prepare yourself for becoming a mother of 4, it’s one of those ‘roll with the punches’ situations. πŸ™‚ Have a great one Alison! -Iva
    AwesomelyOZ recently wrote…Nothing but Alpha WavesMy Profile

    • August 18, 2014 Alison

      Yes, I left home at 17 to do my A levels, which is a British pre-university course. It’s also where and when I met my first boyfriend!

  • July 29, 2014 Bev

    I loved this post, Alison! As someone who attended said conference, I have portions where I too feel that I don’t have a story to tell. Perhaps all (or at least most) of us find our lives uninteresting and not story-worthy. I definitely feel you have a story to tell, and it makes me feel more inspired to share my “unworthy” story.
    Bev recently wrote…How do you define success?My Profile

    • August 18, 2014 Alison

      I hope you do, Bev!

  • July 29, 2014 Amanda Jillian

    I always feel so left out when I can’t go to the conferences too but it’s fun to see everyone’s pictures and stories.
    Amanda Jillian recently wrote…Shock #MermaidMondayMy Profile

    • August 18, 2014 Alison

      Yes, totally!

  • July 29, 2014 Jennifer

    That is exactly what I learned this weekend. We all have a story to tell, and that we SHOULD tell it, if only if because it is important to us. But most likely, parts of it will be important to others as well. I’m glad you are choosing to tell your story.
    Jennifer recently wrote…Always Kiss Me Good-byeMy Profile

    • August 18, 2014 Alison

      My fear is that in telling my story, someone gets hurt, or takes things the wrong way, or takes issue with the fact that I got things wrong (because memory is subjective, isn’t it?) – but you’re right, it’s still OUR story, it’s our truth.

  • July 30, 2014 Christine

    It’s funny, I often feel the same way, struggling to find the interesting stories to tell because I don’t think that my life has been that interesting. But you’re right – we do have stories and they do need to be told. I’m realizing this more and more as a parent, that I want to make sure that my kids know my stories. I love your stories and you tell them with such honesty and beautiful words.
    Christine recently wrote…Yoga with Tara Stiles at the Reebok FitHub Union SquareMy Profile

    • August 18, 2014 Alison

      Yes, I definitely want my kids to know my story! Well, most of it anyway. πŸ™‚

  • July 30, 2014 My Inner Chick

    OOOO, Alison Lee,
    I adore your story.
    You bring light into a dark world. xx
    My Inner Chick recently wrote…Encounter With A Mythical GodMy Profile

    • August 18, 2014 Alison

      You’re too kind to me. xoxo

  • July 30, 2014 Lisa

    I have felt much that same way – that my life was very basic and dull with not much of anything “story worthy” to tell. I am realizing, though, that everyone has a story. Whether it is filled with turmoil or with love or with a little of both – it is the story that makes us the person we are today.
    Lisa recently wrote…STRANDED! (#TuesdayTen Linkup)My Profile

    • August 18, 2014 Alison

      That is very true, Lisa.

  • July 30, 2014 Kim

    I love this, Alison. I sometimes feel the same way and I question whether or not my stories are interesting and worth sharing. It has held me back at times.
    I love your blog and I will be here to read the stories you share.

    • August 18, 2014 Alison

      Yes, your stories are worth telling and sharing, Kim. Keep on writing!

  • July 30, 2014 Tanya

    I always love hearing your stories, you are such a talented writer that I feel like we are the oldest of friends grabbing a cup of coffee together and chatting. Real, honest, funny, relatable and poignant. I’m sorry you missed BlogHer, I hope one day I can make it to a blogging conference and meet some of those bloggers IRL I feel like I already know.
    Tanya recently wrote…When You Asked Me to Marry You: Guest Post for Mommy Miracles #WritingVows #marriageMy Profile

    • August 18, 2014 Alison

      That is such a sweet thing to say, Tanya, thank you.

  • July 31, 2014 tara

    I really want to go to BlogHer. I’ve never been and am so bummed I missed it this year (especially because I live in the area!).

    Um… I want to know more information about everything you said up there! What happened when your nanny left? Where did you go when you traveled across the world? Don’t hold out! πŸ™‚
    tara recently wrote…i really need a picnic blanketMy Profile

    • August 18, 2014 Alison

      My mother cried when my nanny left! She didn’t know how to cook, and suddenly, she had to feed her family of 6! And I went to many places, though not as many as I’d hoped. πŸ™‚ Sorry you missed BlogHer!

  • July 31, 2014 NIna

    I can’t ever seem to make it to BlogHer. And I’m totally with you that on one hand seeing all those pictures makes me both happy and sad. Sad I’m not there and part of it, and happy that it exists at all–this blogging world, the relationships, and the opportunities. Sometimes I also feel slightly hopeless though if I’m being honest. There are so many people out there doing this!!! I wonder how long I can last.

    And your story with all the subplots– I’m interested for sure!
    NIna recently wrote…Why I Love Walking for Exercise AgainMy Profile

    • August 18, 2014 Alison

      Nina, you are a terrific writer, so even if you don’t blog, I have no doubt you will still be writing.

  • July 31, 2014 julie gardner

    The older my kids get, the more I worry about how much of my “story” involves them, and what parts are mine to share and what I should keep private for their sake.

    I have much I could write. But the “should” gets me every time.
    So I sit back and read the stories of others and I pick and choose carefully what makes it onto my own public page.

    It’s a fraction of what’s real.
    Then again, I suppose that’s what most of us see about anyone else.

    Just pieces. Fragments we scatter like crumbs for others to collect.
    And we hope the puzzle they assemble is at least truthful, even if it’s incomplete.

    • July 31, 2014 Robbie

      There are parts of my story I want to shout from the rooftops and other parts I wish never happened. But even the dark, scary parts of my story made me who I am and brought me to my current place. Reading people’s stories is my favorite.
      Robbie recently wrote…ExhaustedMy Profile

      • August 18, 2014 Alison

        Yes, our stories shape us continuously. I love reading people’s stories too.

    • August 18, 2014 Alison

      I have only scattered crumbs throughout over 3 years of writing in public. I don’t know if people get the truth at all πŸ™‚
      It does get complicated when the children are older. Do I write their story at all, even from my perspective as their mother? Do they want to know how I see them? It’s hard.

  • July 31, 2014 Kimberly

    I love your story because it makes you, you. It may seem mundane to you, but to others it’s helpful, uplifting, and exactly what they needed to hear at that moment. Don’t stop telling it!
    (Also? This makes me miss my blog terribly!)

    • August 18, 2014 Alison

      Thank you! And I miss your blog! Please write again.

  • July 31, 2014 Chris Carter

    I want more of your story Alison!!! I want to know why you left and moved two hours away… and at every turn you made, I want explanations and meaning and purpose. Because they are all yours. YOURS.

    You are such a light- such an incredible soul with a vast fortune within. Share your treasures with us! We want to read them…

    Because we want to know how this wonderful woman got to who she is now.

    That’s the beauty of your story. Of each of our stories.

    A mystery, a drama, and most of all- NON fiction is always a powerful read- because it’s real. As far as I can see with how yours has transpired- I see bravery, growing wisdom, and independence. I gather there are insights learned, and courage tested. Perhaps despair fought over your broken heart and twisted perspectives on what is really true and worthy of hope.

    To name a few ideas… but I could be wrong. I will know when you begin to share!!
    Chris Carter recently wrote…What Would A Good Mother Do?My Profile

    • August 18, 2014 Alison

      Thank you so much for your encouragement, Chris!

  • July 31, 2014 Rebecca

    Your story is so beautifully summed up in this post. But the best part about your story is that each part is filled with details that I hope you will one day share with us…okay no, I change my mind. The best part about your story is that it’s not finished. I cant wait to see where this story takes you next.
    Rebecca recently wrote…Can Coffee Stunt My Son’s Growth?My Profile

    • August 18, 2014 Alison

      Oh, the stories I can tell πŸ™‚

  • August 1, 2014 Jin Ai

    I love your stories! “No way I can be a mother”? I said that too, ha! Hugs to you from another mama of 4.
    Jin Ai recently wrote…DelightMy Profile

    • August 18, 2014 Alison

      Ironic right? Hah!

  • August 1, 2014 Leslie

    Looks like you’re a woman with MANY stories. Clearly you’ve lived a life full of adventure already…more adventure than many of us at least. Even if you weren’t at BlogHer, you have a presence with many every day.
    Leslie recently wrote…{Weigh in Wednesday} Week 83My Profile

    • August 18, 2014 Alison

      I’ve had the privilege of a university education and many opportunities to travel through work!

  • August 1, 2014 Becca

    Your story sounds very interesting! I have always thought about going to BlogHer, but I always feel like my blog isn’t “big” enough for that. It’s just something I do for fun. My story doesn’t seem very interesting but as I get older, I’m learning it’s all about being happy!

    • August 18, 2014 Alison

      Yes, definitely! Try going to a smaller conference first, it’s usually a good first step before heading to a big one.

  • August 1, 2014 Allie

    Oh Alison, I felt this one. I feel so self conscious about telling my stories, and I am so guilty of self censorship. I also struggle with insecurity, because I fear my writing will not do my story justice. Then I feel narcissistic for feeling that way!
    Allie recently wrote…Being a Fan During the Good Times and the SadMy Profile

    • August 18, 2014 Alison

      You’re not narcissistic! As writers, we always want to put our best work out there, totally normal.

  • August 2, 2014 theodora

    Love reading your story. I would like to read more when you are ready to tell it
    theodora recently wrote…Our Everyday Life: RoutinesMy Profile

    • August 18, 2014 Alison

      Thank you, I appreciate that!

  • August 2, 2014 Kristi Campbell

    Your story is amazing and yours and important and I want to know more and more and more. I’m sad that you didn’t go to BlogHer because I’d have loved to have hugged (and maybe even licked because things got crazy Saturday night but of course I’ll always respect your boundaries) your face. With that said, it was really about the people. The sessions – meh. One session – you know which, SUCKED. I mean bad sucked. I’m still fuming. I paid a LOT of money to get to San Jose from DC and well, yeah. Anyway. one of these days, we will meet. I hope. And until then, tell your story. But only when you feel like it because IRL matters, too. Scheduled your post to pin to my Our Land board b/c love that quote from SMK.
    Kristi Campbell recently wrote…A Review of BlogHer14: The Magic and the DisappointmentMy Profile

    • August 18, 2014 Alison

      Thank you, Kristi! And I’ll take hugs but no licking, hah! We WILL meet, it’s a date!

  • August 13, 2014 Rudri Bhatt Patel

    Love this idea. Stories, yes. All of us. Glad you shared yours, Alison.
    Rudri Bhatt Patel recently wrote…Another Beginning Becomes Another LastMy Profile

    • August 18, 2014 Alison

      Thank you, Rudri!

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