There was nothing special about our family. No excitement. No grand adventures. I tell people that I had a boring upbringing. But that is a lie. If I truly had a dull childhood, I would not be a writer today. If you want to hear a tale, I have an endless supply. In reality, my days of youth are a wellspring of tragic and comical anecdotes.
When I was four I pretended I was Superman. When I was fourteen I pretended to be a rock star. Then I joined the drama club and discovered myself while pretending to be someone else.
In theater, I learned sword fighting, stage craft, and how to apply makeup. I broke the Wells Fargo Wagon on the closing night of The Music Man and survived an earthquake during a performance of Neil Simon's Rumors. One sunny summer day, after performing improve sketches with a few friends, a little girl came up and asked for our autographs.
I have stood on mountain tops, climbed waterfalls, jumped off cliffs, bathed in the waters of glacial runoff, and danced with wild mountain goats along a snow covered ridge.*
*goat not pictured
I have sneaked into concerts and and paid to attend rock shows. I have had the privilege to hang out backstage and socialize people who play music for a living. I became friends with artists, authors, actors, and musicians.
I trespassed to visit an allegedly haunted graveyard in the middle of the night. I've been kicked out of the Arby's in Ellensburg Washington more times than I can count. And once a friend and I stole a five foot tall cardboard display of the Pillsbury Dough Boy from a Burger King; their security guard chased us into traffic as we drove away.
That was all before I reached the legal drinking age.
So why do I lie and say my wonder years were boring? It is because I compared my life to others and found them far more fascinating. I never went to Disneyland. I never broke any bones. I never won first place in anything. The kids that I grew up with were all from wealthier families and they were all better looking and more athletic than me.
How could I compare? Their stories were more interesting. In the false light of comparison, I felt like my life had no sparkle or shine, nothing special or of any significance.
But all stories have value. Yours. Mine. Their worth is found in one simple truth: we are unique. You did not experience the most exciting day of my life and I have not experienced yours. Even if our biggest adventure was a shared event, your perspective would be different from mine. The event would be the same but the resulting tales we tell would be wholly different.
So be brave. Tell your story. Even if you think it is wholly uninteresting. I assure you, it is not.