What’s the power of a narrative?
There’s no denying the power behind stories. They can change minds, raise voices, shift history. Our stories can hold vast amounts and our stories change as we do. Our stories are diverse as we are; they are shaped by our factors out of our control. They are shaped by us. In your lifetime, you have shaped many stories.
Who owns our narrative?
That question complicates things. As a Public Relations major, I’ve been told that the reputation of a company is owned by the public. I don’t much of a difference between that and this: the public can own our narrative. In particular, the media can. Every day we see it. The media gaining control of someone else’s narrative, someone else’s words, and owning it. The media doesn’t tell us what to think, but what to think about. They can pick and choose what aspects of a story to decipher, which can be dangerous. Chimamanda Adichie reminds us of the danger of a single story; hearing only one story—or aspect of that story—puts us at risk of serious misunderstanding, a misunderstanding we may never be able to overcome. Likewise, when we take the narrative from the mouth of the original speaker, we risk invalidating their voice.
The Narrative Project is a new project by the VocaLady staff intended to put the narrative back in the hands of its original owner. In response to any relevant and recent news story that contains controversy, highlights various voices or interests us, we will be inviting our readers to contribute to our project, to share their stories, in a space where they will be validated and feel safe. We will then publish these stories, unedited except for grammar and spelling. We hope that this project will allow the power of narrative to flourish, untouched and frees, and simply be appreciated by others. We hope these stories will inspire others to raise their voices and share own their own stories.