Am reading: The Power of Myth by Joseph Campbell
This is why stories are so powerful, I think. Young adult literature was just starting to gain traction in the marketplace when I was in college (getting its own section in the bookstore, etc.). I didn't "meet" Sarah Dessen until my junior year of college, and The Truth About Forever (one of my favorite books, ever) didn't come along until a few years after that.
I always say TTAF was my book. That's the book I needed when I was a senior in high school, dealing with the death of my grandfather. I don't want to call my family "emotionally bankrupt" because that seems harsh, but I definitely learned early on that showing sadness is a sign of weakness.
I was Macy, that year: "Fine. Just Fine."
I like to think I would've handled that year much better had the story been available to me sooner. I might've grieved like I was supposed to and moved on instead of bottling things up. I might've skipped that bad relationship had I read Dreamland.
I love that stories give us a frame of reference--that they take experiences and make them real for us. We find ourselves in them, and they become our guide-posts.
Stories are powerful.
If you have a story inside you that deals with life's problems and inner mysteries which could be a road map for others, I don't know why you would ever want to keep that inside you.
We need your stories. :)