It is the nature of dark secrets to steal precious things from us…our sense of security, self-esteem and our voice. That last one can remain lost even after the other two are regained. The back-breaking burden of shame and guilt taught us to be silent in the first place. Fear of others’ judgment went over our mouths like duct tape. We turned on the shower so no one would hear us cry, hid our faces in pillows to stifle the screams. Some of us turned to cutting and other vices that seemed to us loving friends who would help us escape the pain. But later, we found that nothing really took it away without taking a piece of ourselves with it.
What is it that you’ve locked so deeply inside yourself beyond the agony? What is it you wish you could shout from the top of a mountain? You may be bound by fear, but you can still let a sliver of your voice out when you’re alone through ink on a page. You can type your story anonymously online. It doesn’t have to be chronicled by the marks on your flesh. We used to think of our secret as being wrapped up in us but eventually we came realize that we were in fact wrapped up in our secrets.
Imagine with me for a moment…if the tape were peeled from your lips…What would you say? What words have you been dying inside to utter even though you were too afraid to say anything? They might come out first as a whisper as we timidly test the air around us to see if it will bite back. We murmur a tad louder as we refuse to meet the gaze of the eyes around us for fear of what we might see in them. But then eventually, curiosity compels us to. Some of us glanced up and encountered that which we dreaded. Yet, others discovered glimmers of love tinged with gentle concern. It was a breath of crystal clean air blowing through a dark cavern unvisited by anyone but ourselves.
Recovering your voice is a rewarding and terrifying quest. It’s wracked with emotional what-ifs and the testing of courage. At the same time, there is an important piece of yourself you regain when you find the power to finally say what’s gone unsaid for years. You realize that not all your friendships are based on you appearing to have everything together. You learn that there are people in life who wish to love you for the real you—scars and all. This awful feeling that terrible things are trapped inside you and won’t ever leave lessens over time. The belief that you are either evil or sub-human fades the more you embrace the reality that you are not alone in your struggles. If you decide to tell your story to others, there’s even an increased sense of ownership you have of your identity. No longer are you defined by your secrets; instead, your life is made richer by your ability to empower others going through the same thing.
For those of you feeling trapped in silence and shame, I’d strongly encourage you to choose someone you believe cares for you unconditionally and share your story with them when you’re ready. It’s okay if you’re not there yet. We each do things in our own time. But I hope you will one day be able to try it. I would very much wish for you to have the profound peace that settles over you after you’ve told someone who truly cares for you about your darkest pains and they tell you how much they still love you and how much they want to walk with you through it. You may have to search for a while before you find someone like that. Please, please don’t let one unsavory experience with someone who wasn’t understanding stop you from chasing after the peace that could be yours.
Recover your voice from the darkness and speak because you can!