one of the things that causes the most breaking, i think, is harbouring secrets. and one of the things that causes the most mending is admissions. at least from what i've seen. that freedom of opening up, admitting things and talking about what's happening in your heart and your mind can be an amazingly expansive thing.
i've been reminded of this truth a lot lately. not in the sense of quietly carrying secrets, though – more in the sense of the healing power of talking about things and being real with another human being. with no risk comes no intimacy, right?
interestingly enough, admissions have been coming to me rather than the
other way around. maybe setting an intention of being more transparent and honest about what's happening in my own life has become magnetic?
hmm...that's a fun thought. i've become a secret magnet!
whatever's causing it, i'm really loving it. i've had the most amazing conversations with people in the last few weeks about being broke or upset or sick or in pain, about having feelings or crushes or attractions, about living with chronic insecurities or doubts. isn't it lovely when the people we're talking to all of a sudden pull out a big secret? they automatically become more human in that moment because they're fallible and open. i love that...i think that's what helps us mend and stay connected in this crazy web of family and community. we find out where we overlap and where we don't and that we can still be accepted and loved from the outside of a secret, looking in.
it's hard to say some things out loud, though. in the moment when you're on the cliff's edge of admission, and you're about to leap...you tell yourself you're going to do it...you're going to say this thing out loud! and then you do, and there's a sense of weightlessness and unburdening right before the anxiety drops like a lead anvil into your gut. usually, that's when you find out it's not such a big deal. that you're making a bigger deal out of it than anyone else might. in these moments, you find out you're alright. you're alright because you're human and imperfect – not in spite of it but because of it, and we're all in this together in our imperfect, human frailty. for the most part, these secrets are just interesting facts to other people. just a passing lamppost of a moment on the road we're barreling down. a flicker of a moment that always seems bigger than it actually is until you get past the moment of confession.
i remember when i came out to my mom, i couldn't even say the words because i was so nervous. i was in such a state that she had to proffer guesses. was i pregnant? was i dropping out of school? was i addicted to something? ummm...sexual orientation? she had been counting things off on her fingers, and i pointed to the last one. yup, that's it. my heart was pounding in my chest, and my belly was flip-flopping like a load of clothes in the dryer. see, my dad is a total homophobe, but i had no idea how my mom would react. i hoped against hope that she wasn't going to be a jerk about it.
bless her heart, she continued facilitating the whole thing. "well, there are a few options..." she said, counting them off on her fingers. "heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual?"
i pointed to the last one. yep, that one. that's me.
you know what she said?
"don't worry about it chickadee. why would you think i would care?"
i had been stuttering and stammering for about 10 minutes leading up to this moment – not to mention the eight months that it took me to come out to myself and then sit her down. the actual talk lasted no longer than a few minutes. she had been sitting on the couch just long enough to warm it. she got up and kissed me on the forehead and said, "well, if that's it, i'm going to go to bed now."
i was left there, stunned and blinking. i was totally flabbergasted. did that really just happen? barely a blip on the radar after working up my courage for eight months! and it wasn't even that interesting to her! i was almost offended by how calmly she received the news. MY BIG NEWS! my big moment of telling her who i really was! and she
was completely nonplussed!
but isn't that the best possible reaction? that your deep, dark secret ain't no thing. just another story to know about you.