Today I sat in a room with several friends discussing ‘secrets’. Knowing that “we are only as sick as our secrets”, we shared our experiences with bringing our true selves to the light, all that we had hidden and even things we were not yet ready to reveal.
Listening, I realized, I was groomed to be a secret keeper. First and foremost, I am Southern, which as far as secrets is concerned means….. I keep my family secrets, but expose your family secrets in the form of a ‘prayer request’ or by attaching a ‘bless her heart’ to the end of whatever comment is made. I was also raised to believe that people were not interested in the less lovely parts of life and they should not be discussed. If for some reason something did rear its ugly head at the dinner table, my grandmother spoke of it in whispers and hushed tones. We did not bring our shopping bags in until my grandfather had ‘retired’ to his bedroom for the evening. And the one day that I did unveil my broken heart, my grandmother, after listening intently looked me square in the eyes and suggested we go shopping. The matter was never again addressed.
Understand, none of this was intentional, it was simply the way my family was raised and what they sincerely believed was etiquette. However, from learning to keep secrets, I internalized a strong SHAME-based belief system. I lived most of my life thinking something was wrong with me, although I never told a soul, but rather, lived in quiet desperation.
Through my own journey of healing, I began to reveal my self. I told the story, as I had experienced it. That was step one. As the years have progressed, I discovered, while I had become well versed in being an open book, what I still hid were my motives. When I can get down to the nitty-gritty of what’s really going on & tell my entire truth, actions and motives, beautiful or ugly as it may be, I find my freedom. No longer do I have to live with a sense of impending doom, or slight self loathing. I can embrace the sunlight of the Spirit, because I am not ashamed of what will be revealed when it shines on me.
sending you love where you are in the world
—- Tyler Hayes