Opportunities through agencies like the National Center for Atmospheric Research offer tribal college students professional opportunities, and much-needed place at the table for Indigenous scientists. Read more →
The Stories We Share
My second to last semester at my college has been a long one. It was filled with a lot of physical and emotional vulnerability that has further helped me understand myself. What it allowed me to see is how I open to others and the way other people open up as well. Even while writing these blogs, it has allowed me to see what stories I value and why I share the things I do.
The blogs I have written for the last year have been very near and dear to my heart. All the topics I have covered are things that have affected me some way in the past. The problem with talking about things so openly all the time is that every time I do, parts of me go with it. And I know this is true for most storytellers. Whether you write stories or tell them orally, we constantly open up parts of ourselves over and over again.
And why do we do this?
I can’t speak for everyone, but as exhausting as it can be to share so many parts of yourself, I do it in order to connect more with others. Because you never know if someone has had a similar experience or the same thoughts as you if you don’t share those parts of yourself. And yes, that can be scary sometimes. Having boundaries is super important, but one shouldn’t let fear keep you from making personal connections that can potentially be meaningful.
I think for me, being a storyteller means being an open book. While it hasn’t always been the best, it has allowed me to hide nothing and be completely honest. There’s something refreshing about that. There’s also something super important about only having things for yourself that only you know. Being open has allowed me to also see the parts of me that I might not be ready to share. So don’t ever feel like you have to share everything with everyone. Take time to go at your own pace and only open up to people when you feel ready.
And if you’re a person who has trouble sharing things with people, try writing it out or talking to yourself aloud. You might never tell anyone these things and that’s okay. Sometimes just the act of releasing it into the world is more important.
I appreciate Tribal College Journal for giving me a space to share my stories in hopes that other people can relate. It doesn’t matter if one person or 30 people read this—or if no one reads this. It has allowed me to share and deal with things in my own way. As I go into my last semester of college, I can’t wait to see what other stories I get to tell, and I look forward to the new stories that will come from other tribal college students.
Scarlett Cortez is a student at the Institute of American Indian Arts.