The story you told yourself isn’t real.

Jarid Altmark
3 min readNov 14, 2022

And so are all the other lies you probably told yourself.

Imagine the earliest memory you have. What do you see? Who do you see? What do you taste or smell? I suspect that you can’t remember every sense of that moment, which is normal. Memories fade, but you also may have noticed your brain trying to fill in the gaps in the memory. With creative liberty and assumption, our brain has the power to create fiction out of truth.

The moments that pass day by day aren’t always worth sticking, so it’s amazing how we can remember some beautiful experiences but not others. These stories are lost in the truthful past. It should also be noted that some people have very good memories, which makes me envious of their picture perfect, scene for scene story producing. I’m not one of those people though.

Stories are the ultimate tool for transcending most experiences — comedy, pain, conflict, anxiety, grief. Though whether they’re past or present, the way we tell them matters.

The choices we have: Accountability, Authenticity and Honesty

Accountability is the choice to admit fault, acknowledge fact from fiction, and moving past ego-driven emotions that arise because we hate being and feeling wrong.

Authenticity is the choice to combat the self-doubting voice in your head with the assurance it needs to move forward using what you value most.

Honesty is the choice to believe evidence, even in the face of guilt, deceit, shame, or however else you brain decides to “fill the gap.”

I want to also remind you how important it is about how you actually talk to yourself. We are all searching for external validation, but if you can provide the compassion or confidence you need, listen to yourself and understand you have a choices to make. I overthink most and every choice, but lately it’s been easier to listen and not embrace the narratives I tell myself: not doing enough, not making enough, not knowing enough. But then I reply to myself to hault the infinite never enoughness with truth. One narrative I can’t tell if is true is that if I was living anyone else’s life it would be easier. The ones who have everything sorted out and a path so clear even the roads diverged are routed. I hope the hardest relationship you ever have is with yourself, just be kind and know that the work towards internal validation is unlimited and worth it.

I like to think of a world of someone who doesn’t think about any of this. They just react and move forward, not overthinking or underthinking, the narratives consistently screened. They aren’t thinking about feeling because doing is all they know. They fill in gaps with what they knew, and these consistent stories are told, with no room for a sequel — just replayed. And in the end, they lived too.

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Jarid Altmark

Artist, Writer, 4x Food Network Competitor, Professional Cake Artist and Practical Overthinker.