Whitlam Institute

What Matters 2019 Shortlist

What Matters 2019 Shortlist

My Story Matters

My Story Matters

Ruby Keast

Year 7, Castle Hill High School

I like to imagine humanity as a large tapestry, woven together by the stories and events that happen every day to create a beautiful picture. Each individual story matters because without everyone contributing to the tapestry, there are missing threads and it is not complete. We all must understand that our lives have significance and they all make a difference.

My story started with a storm and a dance. In 1866, a devastating cyclone in India left houses destroyed and over 20 000 people injured or killed. One young man climbed up a tree to seek refuge from the rising flood waters down below. Also seeking refuge in that same tree, he met a young woman who, in time, he would marry and they migrated to Australia. These were my great-great-great grandparents.

Almost 80 years later, a dashing young army captain attended a ball at the Campbelltown Country Hall one Saturday night. The army captain's eye was captivated by the sight of a stunning brunette who he asked to dance. Eventually, they got married and had four kids, one of whom is my grandfather.

These two major events, separated by time and distance, wove together to create the start of my story. These are the threads that help to make up the tapestry of our lives.

We all have different stories and there are no two that are the same. But what we must understand is that they all matter equally, because they are all contributing to the bigger picture. Like Maya Angelou, an African-American activist, once said, “We all should know that diversity makes for a rich tapestry, and we must understand that all the threads of the tapestry are equal in value no matter what their colour.” We must acknowledge our differences and understand that we are all different.

Every story has some light and shade, triumph and tragedy - a storm and a dance. As the more difficult events in our lives unfold it is almost like viewing the back of a tapestry.  It can appear tangled, frayed and occasionally knotted. Whenever we face challenges, setbacks, or heartbreak on our journey, it is easy for people to let their fabric become tattered. But we must make sure to remember that our story still matters, even if our threads are tangled and frayed. Through time and circumstance, the storm subsides and the promise of a dance lies ahead.

Every day, everything I do forms another stitch, another moment in this wonderful tapestry. Every movement we make is significant. The threads we have been given help weave our stories together. Without your contribution, the tapestry is incomplete and has gaps. Our job is to use the threads we have been given and put them to good use to create this beautiful tapestry. Whether your threads are tangled or twisted at the moment, they all have a significance to our lives and they all deserve to be seen. Because your story matters.