In the art of storytelling it is very common for a central character to have an essential flaw, and without doubt, in my life this flaw has been my deteriorating health. Now, to think of my life as a story, this essential flaw has led me down many different paths and these primarily have centred around self-discovery and finding out what I’m made of (or not). Hm, well, I say that to put a slightly positive spin on things, my flaw has also involved a lot of raw struggle as well.

But to stick with this storytelling train of thought, I find it fascinating how a story (or life in my case) can have an algorithm – especially when comparing the key points in something like Joseph Campbell’s hero’s journey. Then a story also tends to be cyclical, and quite amazingly our own lives tend to follow a similar pattern too. The call to adventure, passing through troubled waters, redemption, rebirth, etcetera. Or at least my life seems to have followed this path, quite uncannily.

It’s like there’s an unintentional extra-terrestrial navigator.

I’ve always believed in such a thing to a point, only having my life on paper as I do now, I see my adventure algorithm a little more eerily. I can see exactly how God has plotted things out. For instance, I’ve always managed to meet the right person at the right time or have learnt the appropriate thing at the right time to take me to the next level. I’ve always been supported.

Super Mario style… boo yah.

To access this support though, there really is this woo woo of getting out of your own way, surrendering and allowing the magic to happen. You really do need to think like Frodo, nah let’s stick with the video game references, let’s go Sonic or Zelda. Still, this is how your life falls into place, yes, again very much like takes place in your favourite fantasy game or novel.

Now to keep comparing my life and journey to that of… hm, okay now let’s go Disney… Cinderella or Pinocchio… nah Anna from Frozen, SHE IS HOT… still, the central character (or protagonist if you want to call it that) has to change, has to have stuff thrown at them to force change (oppositional forces), otherwise what a shit-boring story you’d have huh!?

By the way, yep I’m intentionally using all these different well-known character examples, like if you really think about it they are the same story at their core.

Mind blown.

Oh and yo quick question to amuse my shallowness… hot or not? Elsa or Anna? Olaf?

Honestly, I think Anna is my dream girl ❤ ❤

Kristoff I am cutting your lunch.

Er, um, er maybe that was a bit too much information… er a tad awkward… nevertheless, my story (as like with mister Theory of Everything) I certainly did have stuff thrown at me physically, mentally, emotionally too, only as a result was I still the same on the inside? Did my call to adventure make or break me? Maybe both? Think Into The Wild and Christopher McCandless. Damn, I love this type of back and forth on the page.

Which, I think this is something beautiful about storytelling and about life in general too huh, it’s this evolution (or not) that drives the narrative. And it’s the juicy bits, the internal struggle or drive, the chaos or idiosyncrasies that shine through amidst adventure, this is the really good stuff that can make a body of work standout, even exceptional. Or so I think,

For this reason, as you’ve probably noticed, this is why I try to share as much of myself as possible. The Clint Eastwood, the Sergio Leone. Actually, I think Robin Williams mentions something along similar lines in Good Will Hunting, juicy is good. Anyhow, and moving right along, in my eyes and I’m sure a number of other people will feel the same as well, a story needs to be more than a series of events. A story shouldn’t be a Volvo.

Still, the events relating to my “character”, this is what drove my story. How I reacted, responded, adapted – storytelling 101 – nope I’m not that special. But what I guess I’m getting at, or the point I want to make, my “character” was definitely not the same as it was in the beginning. I went on one of these hero’s journeys, a transformational journey, and man organically there was juicy bits everywhere.

Furthermore, because of this, I couldn’t help but be exposed. Like I now had a list of complexities to deal with that I’d never even dreamt of being a possibility, I mean, beforehand I barely even knew that this world of disability and healthcare even existed. Yet in this, what I also discovered was my deepest fear. Wooooo. Eek. Vulnerabilities and dependence.

Anyway, yeah so I ended up on this journey that I didn’t want to go on and at no point could I really turn back – hero’s journey 101 – Hollywood 101. So, this forced the change I referred to earlier. And it was the overcoming of my fears that created the most impactful change, plus other specific antagonists countered my journey too.

Blah, blah, whoa this is all getting far too technical. Haha, this is over-thinking 101.

I could’ve saved myself a lot of time here by simply saying that my journey was a “big mind-fuck that I was trying to unfuck” – yep, there’s some Burvale speak for ya. Yet, quite notably, it was my mind here that was growing and changing the most – as my body had stopped working this is the tool that I had to work with. I’m sure you’ve noticed… but somehow the bogan still stuck around

Oh my gosh… why didn’t I just dwell on Anna’s rack… um I mean sexy energetic awkwardness or something like that!? Keep it simple stupid.  This is totally verging on Deadpool self-awareness… yer could I possibly over-think this anymore?

Well, apparently so.

You see, my “character” always had the inherent purpose of trying to return to wellness (or to save Arendelle’s populous from Elsa), maybe you could even think of this as the journey from darkness to light, and it was here that my resolve was tested most. Juicy bits galore. Or, it was here in this underlying narrative that my essential flaw was exposed. Or, it is here that my flaw was tested the most.

To chunk this down one level further, I think it was my essential flaw (my deteriorating health) that actually opened my eyes to the true value of life. Lion King 101… well, is you consider the similar shame elements of Simba’s essential flaw. But personally, I believe this life value thing is the truest essence of my story and many other epic tales as well (think Shrek now, hm nah stick with Simba).

Yep, a story will most commonly be life affirming, well okay Nightmare on Elm St excluded hey. Then, it’s not the events themselves that are the backbone of a story, it’s how they transform us, and to me this is the truest representation of a hero’s journey.

This is the way a story can teach, touch hearts, even make people value their own lives and story. This is how Luke Skywalker became the Jedi master, it wasn’t purely Yoda or Obi Wan’s teachings, it was mainly because of the textbook-style journey that he went on.

About Mark

For all things a day-dreamer, a larrikin and an undeniable fighter. Mark advocates for both Adversity and Lyme Disease; and boasts a real passion for green living, nutrition and organic foods. Oh and he's a quadriplegic too. This spirited life coach, with prior background in marketing & advertising, now has more recent aspirations that include becoming a published author, and a business owner too. And when well enough, Mark’s also ticking off his bucket list, and he also volunteers with the Starlight Children’s Foundation. Mark is an ACIM student, an adventurer, and a sneaker collector. His dream is to one day get better and ride a bicycle around Australia.

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