More Than a Monologue: Sexual Diversity and the Catholic Church - Vol. 1

By Christine Firer Hinze; J. Patrick Hornbeck II | Go to book overview

13 The Stories We Tell

KATE HENLEY AVERETT

University of Texas at Austin

Before, we all learned the stories of great men as truth; this was the
way the world was, and we were just born unlucky, in the wrong body
in the wrong place at the time. This kind of widespread belief, among
both us and them, affected how we all lived and dreamed. The stories
which we thought were truth delimited our imagined possibilities.

This is the argument which says that some stories are downright
dangerous. They hurt our sense of self when we hear them and remem-
ber them, and opportunities to revamp and rebuild ourselves are dam-
aged by the wide circulation of these stories.

Gargi Bhattacharyya1

As children, we’re told stories to teach us about the world. Through fables, fantasies, and fairy tales, we’re taught to listen for “the moral of the story,” trained to understand that stories can be true and that they can also contain Truths. We learn to look for the metaphor in the stories we’re told, metaphors that teach us about what is True and Good and Right.

These stories help us imagine the possibilities for our lives. But in providing us with a range of possibilities, they also limit what we imagine for our future. We learn through the silences in the stories that there are things we were never supposed to imagine possible. When, in making those futures into reality, we bump up against experiences that don’t make sense, we turn to the stories of our childhoods, searching for a moment of recognition, something to help us make sense of things again. If we don’t find what we’re looking for— when we fail to see ourselves reflected in our stories or begin to realize the silences are about us— it can make us feel invisible or even impossible.

I would like to tell you a story about the power of stories. It is a story about my growing up Catholic and growing away from and out of Catholicism. It

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