When I started blogging, I set everything up so that no one could find what I wrote, barring some wild fluke. I felt a very strong need to “talk” about what had happened to me as a child, the resulting damage, my struggles as a broken adult…but I wasn’t ready to allow anyone to hear the words I cast into cyberspace. I was still into keeping secrets. Hiding. And so, I fixed it so the blog wouldn’t be indexed and made everything private. There came a day when I took a big step, for me anyway. I decided to open the door a crack and maybe even let someone come inside and look around. It was a momentous event, at least from my perspective. I hovered over those settings for quite some time before I made the change. And I thought about quickly changing them back several times afterward. I was scared to death. You see, this was the first time I shared my reality, my experiences, my wounds, my questions, my failings, my broken heart, with anyone other than a professional counselor. This was the first time I was “me” in public. Since that decision has been made, I’ve gained a few followers and several of them have taken the time to encourage me. To tell me I’m not the freak that I think I am. To give me some thoughts and ideas. To share some of their own struggles. I can’t even begin to describe what a wonderful and amazing experience that has been. It has taught me that perhaps keeping secrets tied up in the dark places of my soul might not be necessary all the time. Perhaps there are a few people out there who could really know me and not be horribly repelled. That validation of my being is more valuable than any amount of money. It is a priceless treasure. Something I’ve never experienced before. Something I am humbled by and very grateful for. I have come to believe and see that secrets are killers. They destroy you a little piece at a time, fracturing and fragmenting your being until everything you were that was good and wonderful is gone. They coat you in shame, cloak you in darkness and depression and wrap you in rejection. They cause you to disconnect and disassociate, to isolate and feel unacceptable. Secrets make you feel phony, fake, dirty, tainted. Unwanted. The more you hide, the more you think you have to hide. I know I still have a long road to travel before I can find the courage to be the real me (whoever that might turn out to be) with people while I am with them face to face. At one point in my life, I would have believed it was utterly impossible for this to happen. I had the veil of secrecy wrapped tightly around me. I was hidden deep within, the mask was firmly in place and my frozen smile never faltered. I was confident, cool and controlled. On the outside. The inside was dead or dying. Tortured and ripped by pain. But at that time, I wouldn’t have written a blog like this. Be honest? About my inner self? My inner world? No…never. But I took the step. One small step. And that has caused me to believe others are possible with time and continued attempts.
Shedding secrets is like peeling an onion. This is partially due to the fact that I haven’t seen myself in so long, I’m still not sure what I will find in there. It is also because I am not good at being myself. I’m so used to hiding, it has become an ingrained habit. And it’s partially due to my lack of courage and fear of rejection. But I am occasionally peeling the onion. And starting over in a new place gives me the additional opportunity to start over and do things a little differently. I’m trying to look on the bright side. Find the silver lining. I’m not good at that either. But I’m actively working at it. So little by little, I’m taking small steps that lead me out of my comfort zone, trying to figure out who the real me truly is and letting her out of that dark dungeon where she has lived for such a very long time.
It has been a crazy week. Interviews, flights to California and back, thunderstorms, a new roof on the house. I haven’t had much time to think or reflect. But what little reflecting I have done has been about secrets. How the light needs to shine into the dark places of my soul and how I need to learn to be me in a real and genuine way. Which made me very grateful for those of you who have helped me and who are a part of this process. Because I reached out to you first. And miraculously, amazingly, you reached back.
Thank you for being there and for not shoving me back into the dungeon. Thank you for giving me hope. Thank you for caring. I see a little sliver of light and I think it might be because of you.