via Free People
I read something the other day that said the trick to telling our darkest secrets is to never discredit them – that in order to set ourselves free of the power they hold over us, to share them, and not only that, but to share them in such a manner that evokes the same emotional response in the recipient that it does within ourselves.
So often when we talk of our personal past, we skim over the shadows, and if we do touch on them, we are brief and light as to assure whomever we are talking to that we are OK now. That we accept our past and have “moved on”.
When I read this, it resonated with me. I do not ever share my secrets and when I come remotely close, I paint over them with glitter. I throw in the “I was just young” or the “oh, these old scars? A tiger. Or was it a shark? I can’t remember, it was so long ago now.”
But we were never just young and it was never so long ago.
After reading this, I sat on it for a while. I couldn’t think of a time I have ever given credit to my shadows. I had never given them the respect they deserve. I had never validated my fears, my sadness, my weaknesses, my grief, my despair, or my darkness by being honest about it. I had neglected to do so for such a long period of time that I had almost convinced myself that they were never worthy of such titles in the first place.
So I promised myself that in order to accept myself more fully, I would no longer keep them under lock and key. That the next time I was asked, I would share, whole-heartedly, the experiences that hurt me – that have hurt me.
The opportunity arose last night. It arose briefly, and in an unexpected place, but it reared its head. And I took a moment to remind myself, looking at a face I trusted completely, if you are going to tell this story you are going to validate it. You are going to respect it. You are going to tell it so that you remember, so that you can feel, so that you can forgive. You are going to tell it so that this person understands the extent of yourself that you just freed.
And I opened my mouth and let the words come out: eight of them. Punchy, simple, nonchalant, boring, dull, flippant, harsh, disconnected. I freed nothing of myself, nor did I forgive, nor did I share.
I spent the rest of the evening angry at myself. I am a woman of many words, many of which are about me and my past. I am honest with these words, with these reflections. I share more than I need to, all too often. What was it that was holding me back from talking about it all – not to the world, but to even one person?
I started crying out of frustration. Frustration at myself, for not believing in the power of my own story, the power of my voice – for not believing in myself – and finally, as I cried, I started to weep for the secrets themselves. And somewhere in between the tears I began to cry out of anger and the tears I eventually shed for the shadows, I remembered my story. And it was a good story. One with more than eight words. One that made me remember. One that made me feel. One that made me accept that in order to truly forgive and let go, I must share it.
And so, I will try again. And again. And again. Until I have the courage to tell the entire thing, and finally, “move on”.
Have you ever validated your shadows? Spoken of your darkest night? Cried to a stranger admitting defeat? Told a therapist of your wounds? More importantly, are you willing to try?
xo & yw