Ashley Wurth Storytelling at The Monti

Personal stories can be challenging, especially when the past that you want to talk about – the trials and tribulations that form the basis of your experience – is difficult to share. It’s not easy to embrace the vulnerability that is required to create impact with an audience, but in her talk from the stage at The Monti on October 19, 2021 in Durham, North Carolina, Ashley Wurth summoned up the courage to do just that.

In less than 10 minutes Ashley takes us on a journey of the heart while she demonstrates the true power of perseverance and the grace of redemption. Many speakers find it difficult to reveal the dark side of their childhood – they don’t want to say anything negative about family members – as well as the bad decisions they’ve made along the way – they would rather those facts remain hidden from view. Problem is, we don’t learn much from sugar-coated stories.

“The only feeling we could count on was afraid” 

But at the same time, she is quite adept at inserting bits of humor that change the tone of the story, if only for a brief moment. This is masterful storytelling, because it’s how life works. Sometimes we’re the one looking for the funny side of a bad situation, and sometimes life itself, by way of friends and family, even encounters with strangers, will provide a dose or two of comic relief.

“I am never, ever, going to break his heart” 

I was fascinated by the juxtaposition of her life slipping into a world of drug abuse while maintaining a sense of normalcy for so many years. But that narrative didn’t last forever, and she was in store for a number of painful twists and turns. It’s this type of complex, non-logical story line that is common for so many of us. It’s not one thing or the other, it’s a blending of highs and lows, of choices made, of failures and recovery that make our journey unique.

“And I’ve also learned through all of this, that not only can you fill a broken heart, you can mend one.” 

If you have a difficult and/or problematic story to tell, I invite you to listen to Ashley’s saga, to tap into her courage and vulnerability, as well as the pearl that she ends with. My life doesn’t resemble her’s in the least, yet I have a new, more humble perspective on life, and on people whose lives were different than mine. Your story can change lives too. Sit down. Write it. Then tell it.

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