Life is a series of decisions made at the crossroads of our journey. Every decision takes us down a different road where we experience the consequences--good and not-so-good ones--that result. In other words, life is not a straight line, from birth to death, but a roadmap full of twists and turns. Some roads are chosen for us by our parents or some other authority; others we choose for ourselves; still others may be roads we travel with our peers. Some roads are well marked; others are dark and secret. Some are experienced with family and friends,and some are explored alone.
So how does a person make sense of her life experiences so that she can begin to shape her stories? One the best ways, in my opinion, is to make a list of turning points. A turning point is that crossroad that marks a difference in your growth as a person--that time in your history where you changed in some significant way.
For example, the day you had your first period. Before that day you were a girl, maybe even a tomboy. But then your menes came, and your body changed. What prepared you for this day? Were you looking forward to becoming a young woman, or had your mother warned you of "The Curse," so that you were dreading this day? How did you feel... powerful? scared? confused? Did you talk about it with your friends? Maybe you were the first one or the last one in your group to go through this rite of passage. Explore your feelings as well as the facts that you remember about those early days.
Other turning points can include whatever is important to you: skipping school and getting caught; failing algebra (or making the top grade in the class); first paying job; death in the family; facing a bully... The turning points are yours to list.
But then examine them. Why do they stand out in your memory? Is there a pattern? Did facing adversity shape you into the strong woman you are today? Write about it.