Six Words can be a game changer. For SixContest #53, we challenged you to capture those life-changing junctures in just six words. From first dates and transformative diagnoses to major moves and startling losses, honest and intimate stories were shared across our community. There were so many powerful backstories submitted—we couldn’t highlight them all, but a few are included below and you’ll find many more if you scan the contest comments.
Here are the Top Six memoirs about changing your story:
6. “Hi, I’m Bren; I’m an addict.” —@RadBren13 (via Twitter)
5. “Whitewater rafting trip flowed into marriage.” —L2L3 (*see below for backstory)
4. “Remove your leg, you will live.” —Sandi Guida (via Facebook)
3. “Drove across America with little brother.” —Mike White (@TheMikeWhite via Twitter)
2. “Can I buy you a taco?”—Solstice22 (**see below for backstory)
And the top honor goes to:
1. “I think I’m really a boy.” —BecomingLuke
Congratulations to BecomingLuke! And thanks to everyone who joined in the fun! Read on for the backstories from our Top Six, plus a few honorable mentions:
*“I married our raft guide.” –backstory from L2L3
**“These six words were offered to me because he wanted to get to know me better. I was working temporary during the summer at the company he worked at and he knew I was not able to get out for lunch that day. I said no, thanks, but the he started always being outside when I took my breaks and we got to talking. He invited me to watch him play soccer and meet his friends. That pretty much sealed the deal. Because of him, I went places I’d never thought to go and do stuff that was out of my comfort zone. Things like hiking in Yosemite, fishing and camping along beautiful California beaches, canoeing, bicycling. Eating food I’d never tried before, reuniting with a relative I’d lost touch with for decades because family was so important to him. And, the biggest thing of course–without him I wouldn’t have had my beautiful daughter. Although he and I as a married couple were not able to stay together, his first six words to me changed my life for the better.” —backstory from Solstice22
Six Honorable Mentions and their backstories:
“15th foster home. Here goes, God.” —Maeva
After a search lasting my whole life, I came to a place where I wasn’t seen as broken shards of a life that might have been. I came to a place where I was broken, but pieced back together into something greater. Family at last.
“Sexy diver and a lucky zombie.” —quantumd0t
My husband and I met at a Halloween party. He was a real US Navy diver dressed like a gentleman and no costume; and here I was, dressed as a zombie, bloody face and all. Five years later, I am no longer a mathematics teacher, but an Instructional Designer; I am no longer in NY, but now in California. I am no longer alone, and now I am in love.
“Jim McKay: ‘They are all gone’” —Ellis_Reyes
September 6, 1972. ABC sports reporter Jim McKay sadly informing the world that 11 Israeli Olympians had been killed by terrorists. I was just a kid, but this was shattering to me. I don’t really know why. These words, and the events surrounding them, set me on the long path to becoming an Army Ranger. My dad tried desperately to convince me to go into business or law, but the blood red dye was cast a decade earlier in a country thousands of miles away.
“Your mother is on her way.” —Ms.Nan
When my father died, well meaning neighbors did not know how to communicate the death in a downtown hospital. Perhaps saying that our mother was on her way was a manner of delaying the information. But even to a nine-year-old like me those few words spoke volumes. My mother was coming home. Alone. If there has been anything that has changed the course of my life, it has been those few words. They meant my father was gone. My mother was alone. And so was I.
“I’m so sorry. Your son died.” —Jugggler
March 1, 2000. The doctor was devastated. He and his staff had done everything that they could, but our son Daniel only lived for an hour. We imagine what he would be like every year on his birthday.
“No Dad, I will do designing.” —ScientistX
My Dad had a wish, that i do engineering…but i wanted to be a graphic designer and here I am, became a graphic designer, working as a visual and motion designer in a startup IT company.
…and our special thanks to longtime Sixer, Staraj, who used our famous tagline, “ONE LIFE. SIX WORDS. WHAT’S YOURS?”™ to capture the transformative power of community:
“EVERYTHING changes our lives. Whether or not those changes can be expressed in six words. Precipitating words. Concomitant words. Climactic words. Most changes are very minuscule. Some imperceptible. Others profound . . . tragically . . . joyously. This website provides me with an outlet to vent, debate, preachify on a soapbox, endeavor to write witticisms, and often just be a goofball (which comes easily to me). SMITH is a “community organizer.” It’s good to be part of a community. An expressive community. A community that changes lives.”