navigating our stories

narrative therapy, community care, collective action

Mug, books, and journal

Our stories, ourselves.

What is the story of your life, and of yourself within your life?

What are your skills, values, and insider knowledges?

How have you stayed connected to your own strong stories?

Our stories shape how we see ourselves and the world around us, and can connect us to our own actions and choices in responding to the problems in our lives.

Narrative therapy is all about our stories – the ones we tell ourselves, and the ones we’ve been told; the ones we tell about other people, and the ones they tell about us. It’s about understanding where those stories come from, who they serve, and deciding whether we still want to give those stories weight in our lives. And it’s about reauthoring our stories, and strengthening our connections to legacies and histories of responding to hardship with skill and resilience.

A narrative conversation, either in a group setting or individually, can help us tell our stories in ways that honour our skills, values, knowledges and actions. For many marginalized communities, these skills, values, insider knowledges, and actions have been devalued and dismissed.

You already are the protagonist and the narrator of your own story, the expert in your own experience – nobody can give you that power, and nobody can take it away. But sometimes we lose connection to our deep self-storying abilities, and narrative therapy can help us get back in touch with that knowledge.

Narrative Therapy

Coaching

In 2018, I completed the Master of Narrative Therapy and Community Work degree at the Dulwich Centre and the University of Melbourne, and I am excited to offer narrative therapy to people in Calgary and online. We can work together one-on-one, or in a group setting. My facilitation style is collaborative and flexible – we can co-create a plan that will help you navigate, understand, and re-author your story in a way that feels right for you.

Self-Care Resources

Are you looking for immediate and accessible help? You’ll find resources here. This category will be growing over the next year as I complete projects. These free resources are made possible by my patrons on Patreon and I appreciate it so much.

Writing in the Margins Workshops

Writing in the Margins has been on hiatus while I completed my Master of Narrative Therapy and Community Work degree at the Dulwich Centre and the University of Melbourne. Now that I’ve completed this degree, watch this space for a new writing group launching in September, 2019!

Editing

Have you written something amazing? I can edit your fiction, creative non-fiction, academic paper, dissertation, or book. I bring a gentle and insightful editing voice, and a keen eye for detail. I read for grammar and style, of course, but what I’m best at is reading for intersectionality, accessibility, and queer and feminist politics.

Sostar Self Care on Facebook

Sostar Self Care on Facebook

3 hours ago

Tiffany Sostar

cw: pregnancy and infant loss

Today is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day. This is a topic that impacts so many different people, including trans and non-binary folks who experience gender erasure and harm in both medical contexts and support spaces around this loss; Black, Indigenous, and brown people who experience racism in medical contexts and support spaces; disabled folks; neurodivergent and mad folks; so many people who go through this experience (which can take so many different forms, and can be felt in so many different ways) undersupported, underserved, dismissed.

The You Are Not Alone project was first conceived in 2017 as a response to loss resources that are highly gendered, and that implicitly assume their readers are straight, white, and cisgender. It was also created to try and provide something free and easily accessible.

The 2019 expansion includes the addition of Aditi Loveridge's personal story, as well as her help in expanding the information on dealing with racism around the topic of pregnancy and infant loss. Aditi is the founder of the Pregnancy & Infant Loss Support Centre, an explicitly inclusive, queer and trans-supportive space in Calgary and online.

This resource is freely downloadable and shareable. You can find the 70-page PDF at my blog. tiffanysostar.com/pregnancy-and-infant-loss-day-2019/
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cw: pregnancy and infant loss

Today is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day. This is a topic that impacts so many different people, including trans and non-binary folks who experience gender erasure and harm in both medical contexts and support spaces around this loss; Black, Indigenous, and brown people who experience racism in medical contexts and support spaces; disabled folks; neurodivergent and mad folks; so many people who go through this experience (which can take so many different forms, and can be felt in so many different ways) undersupported, underserved, dismissed.

The You Are Not Alone project was first conceived in 2017 as a response to loss resources that are highly gendered, and that implicitly assume their readers are straight, white, and cisgender. It was also created to try and provide something free and easily accessible.

The 2019 expansion includes the addition of Aditi Loveridges personal story, as well as her help in expanding the information on dealing with racism around the topic of pregnancy and infant loss. Aditi is the founder of the Pregnancy & Infant Loss Support Centre, an explicitly inclusive, queer and trans-supportive space in Calgary and online.

This resource is freely downloadable and shareable. You can find the 70-page PDF at my blog. http://tiffanysostar.com/pregnancy-and-infant-loss-day-2019/

 

Comment on Facebook

Thank you for sharing my story and my work. And for doing the work you do ๐Ÿ’œ๐Ÿ’œ

4 days ago

Tiffany Sostar

Coming Out day follows Mental Health day, and lemme tell you, I have some complex feelings about this one, too!

The discourse of "coming out" puts the onus on targeted communities to disclose our identities, and this expectation of disclosure is violent on so many levels.

On one level, it demands that targeted communities "come out" in order to increase the visibility of other people within their communities, rather than putting the burden onto the dominant group to make more space for us.

On another level, this discourse puts us at risk by framing not being "out" as a lesser choice - deceptive, inauthentic, unhealthy. This fails to recognize how being out is not a single action, but is often an experience we must go through over and over and over and over. And this discourse puts some of us, especially trans folks, at highly increased risk, because the idea of being "tricked" has been so effectively spread by this discourse.

I am thankful that my life has space for me to be out. I am bisexual and non-binary, and I cherish those parts of myself.

But many folks are not out, or they are only out in certain contexts, and that doesn't mean that they cherish their identities any less, or that they are less authentic, or that they haven't come "far enough" in their journey.

Being queer, trans, two spirit... these are not linear journeys from the closet to the It Gets Better utopia. These are our lives, our selves. We don't owe anyone disclosure. Disclosure is not a moral good.

Coming out can be great.

Inviting others in (to borrow Sekneh Hammoud-Beckett's lovely phrasing) can also be great!

Staying in the magical wonderland of our vast and colourful closets can also be great.

And, just as importantly, all of those things can be painful, hard, exhausting. Coming out can be hard. Inviting others in can be hard. Staying in can be hard.

Whatever you're experiencing today, you're valid.

You're the expert in your own experience. (Even when that means being the person most qualified to say, "I honestly have no clue what my gender or orientation is.")

Good luck out there today!
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Comment on Facebook

I am thankful for who you are and what you share

5 days ago

Tiffany Sostar

It's World Mental Health Day and I have a lot of complex feelings about this, feelings that grow ever more complex the more I learn about and practice within narrative therapy, the more I listen to people speak about their experiences of diagnosis and accessing care, the more I engage with my own mental health in ways that hold space for multiple true stories to coexist.

Despite this complexity, I do believe a few things very strongly.

I believe that you are the expert in your own experience.

You are the one whose story of your mental health is most relevant.

You can engage with ideas of diagnosis in whatever way feels right for you, and if you have a received a diagnosis that does not feel like a fit, it is okay to question and challenge it. If you have received a diagnosis that DOES feel like a fit, it is okay to be helped by it. If you have sought out a diagnosis and received gatekeeping and judgement, it okay to name yourself with the words that help you make meaning of your own experience.

I hope that we are all invited into moments of kind witnessing today, to see each other in our complexity, to see ourselves in our complexity, to allow people to be the experts in their own lives, to recognize that people are not the problem, problems are the problem. And to recognize also that the solutions, to quote David Denborough the first time I met him, are not individual.

Let's name the systems that influence us, and make choices about when and whether we cooperate with them.
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Comment on Facebook

The little bit that I know about narrative therapy makes me want to learn more.

“Let’s name the systems that influence us, and make choices about when and whether we cooperate with them.” Thank you.

YESSS!!

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Know your stories, know yourself.