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

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2 days ago

Tiffany Sostar

I am writing this from the middle of an attack of the Not-Enoughs. Maybe you also sometimes deal with these thoughts.

Whenever I ask myself, "what would be 'enough'?" I have no good answer. The answer is always some variation of "I don't know, but better than THIS."

It's a bar I can't clear, because it's always just beyond what I'm capable of.

So, here are some alternate questions that I am asking myself:

- If 'it' will never be enough, what does it mean that you keep trying anyway?
- Why does it matter, why do you want to be/do 'enough'?
- If we take it as a given that it is not enough, and set aside that measure of enoughness, what is it that you are trying to do? Outside of the measurable outcome, what is the purpose of your actions?
- What do those actions say about what matters to you? What hopes or dreams are at the root of these actions?
- Why do these hopes or dreams matter to you, why are they important?
- Are there other people also working in this same way, or toward these same hopes or dreams?
- Is there anyone who knows you hold these hopes or dreams, and that they inform your actions?
- What have your actions made possible in the lives of others, even if we accept that they are 'not enough'?

(My goal in these questions is to avoid trying to trick myself into 'admitting' that I am/do/have done 'enough', because I always end up feeling worse when that happens, like not only was I not enough but then I actually WAS enough but I wasn't wise enough to see it, so it becomes a horrible loop of berating myself for not accepting myself... and that doesn't usually end up in feeling more possible at all. I also want to hold space for maybe it really is NOT enough. Or at least, that is one true story of my experience of myself in this moment. I want to find something that is outside of 'enoughness', rather than trying to directly counter the story of 'not enoughness'.)

Anyway. I don't think this is a very eloquent post, but it is almost always true that when I am being crushed by an emotional rock, I am rarely the only one under that particular rock.

This is the rock I'm under today, and this is how I'm trying to breathe despite the weight of it, and maybe if you're under a similar rock, we can breathe together.

And maybe it won't be enough, but maybe it will be something.
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Comment on Facebook

You are not alone and thanks for naming the 'not enough' loop including the off-ramp: "how could I succumb to not-enough thoughts"! I don't know you, but your advocacy and community building are two things I have admired and appreciated for a while. Hugs.

1 week ago

Tiffany Sostar

I will not be presenting at the Ally Toolkit conference as planned.

My presentation was on speculative fiction and social justice, and how listening to the voices of movement organizers, creatives, and visionaries who have been pushed to the margins can make it possible for those of us who hold different privileges to imagine better, more possible futures.

Narrative therapist Vikki Reynolds talks about ethics involving "vulnerability tracking" - a practice of paying attention to who is most vulnerable in a given interaction or space, and standing with them. She describes ethics as a messy and ongoing practice, as the thing that makes our work sustainable.

At the heart of my own ethics is a belief that one of my core accountabilities is to BIMPOC communities. To the communities that are actively harmed by the structures and systems of white supremacy that actively benefit me as a white settler on this land.

When I pull these three threads together - my belief in more just futures informed by listening to marginalized voices, a commitment to solidarity work, and the heart of my own ethics as accountability to BIMPOC communities - it is clear to me that I have to be active in standing with the community members who are naming the harm they have experienced.

Although I don't know Suitaakii Black personally, I have spoken with community members who are closer to the situation, and have watched some of her insta stories, and this feels important to me. She has shared some of the harm that she has experienced working with the organization, and some of the history of harm that is ongoing, and that needs to be addressed. It would not be right for me to benefit as a white person from participating in a space where harm to people of colour has occurred and not been addressed.

Walidah Imarisha describes visionary fiction as fantastical literature that makes existing power structures visible, and allows us to see paths to more just futures.

adrienne maree brown says that all organizing is science fiction.

We are practicing the future in every interaction. We are organizing towards something better and more just. I hope we get there, and I know that if we do, the path will be mapped out by the Black, Brown, Indigenous, and mixed people of colour who can see more clearly both the harms and the ways forward.

(Edited to add some context.)
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Comment on Facebook

I feel like this post is missing some context, and Googe isn't helping any. What I understand from this post is "I was going to present, but now I'm not, because I support BIPOC." Did BIPOC ask you not to present? Is there a BIPOC that wanted to teach the same class who was overlooked so you could teach instead? Did your class draw on examples of Suitaakii's work? I don't actually have any context for *why* you not presenting would be standing up for/with oppressed people.

2 weeks ago

Tiffany Sostar

This is an excellent resource!I'm so pleased to report that since sharing last week that I was offering up the digital/PDF edition of my book for $1.99, I've received over 150 individual requests for the book!

Additionally, many of you mentioned you'd be sharing it with others, which means the book is now in the hands of literally hundreds more folks than it was at this time last week.

Thank you for your interest, and thank you for sharing this with others!

And, thanks to such an incredible turnout, I'm going to keep the offer in place through November 30th. See below! 🙂
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It's a great time to advantage of this deal if you...

- Are someone who wants to better understand the process a gender questioning person goes through
- Have people in your life with whom you can share exercises from the book
- Have questions of your own about your gender journey!

Just send $1.99 to:
www.paypal.me/darahoffmanfox

I'll email you the PDF to you within 1-3 days.

If you plan on sharing the book with others, feel free to include what you feel would be an appropriate amount to compensate for that 🤓
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This is an excellent resource!

Comment on Facebook

Just sent it to most of the workshop participants!

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Know your stories, know yourself.