Your story


When I was 11 years old, my dance teacher asked my class to write 100 words about ourselves.

Here’s how far I got: “Emily is in grade six, and loves to dance. She also plays the piano.”

The brevity of my autobiography seemed accurate. I did love to dance, and I spent every hour outside of school at my dance studio.

In high school I no longer danced my hours away.

For a long time, I had great difficulty imagining my autobiography without dance. I couldn’t accept that I was no longer defined by one thing.

My adolescent autobiography included numerous trifles, but far too many for any one of them to singularly define me.

My first year of university was agonizingly broad. It was then I realized I had no clue what defined me.

When my editors at the Journal asked me to write a short autobiographical blurb as Features Editor, I was stumped. I could mention my love of writing, but that seemed banal given the context.

There seemed to me nothing that stood out - no particular talent or hobby to categorize me. So I did what anyone stuck in a melodramatic, quarter-life crisis would do. I tried to dilute myself.

Perhaps I could be defined by astronomical grades. All I needed to do was ace every subject.

Or, I could reshape my body until it was utterly perfect - maybe that could define me. Spoiler alert: there is no such thing as the perfect body.

I now know an autobiography changes continually, based on who you’re with and where you are. Because people are not simple. They are infinitely complex, and all the more beautiful for it.

There are pieces of your autobiography that will never be widely known. Of course, these are the best parts - the parts only those fortunate to get to know you closely will get to see.

Few know that Winston Churchill was a talented painter, and produced over 600 artworks during his lifetime.

Famous shoe designer Christian Louboutin took a hiatus from footwear to design gardens before once again making red soles enviable. In his spare time, Louboutin also practices trapeze work.

Some goals are worth pursuing. Limiting yourself isn’t one of them.

I now look forward to my next autobiographical endeavour, knowing it will be a time capsule of myself, not a stone-carved checklist of interests and traits.

Autobiographies are interesting. Only you can write yours, so don’t leave anything out.

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