Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this too, was a gift.
How do I follow up from that last post? I’ve imagined writing it for years and years. Never sure where to start, how to put it into words, how to tell the story without being selfish or dismissive. And then one day those words came. So I put them down, as they flowed out of me. For some reason, the scenes that followed that night didn’t come the same way. Here I am trying to figure out why and what it is that I should say in response to that post.
First, I want to say that I wrote it because I’m tired of living in secret. I’m tired of keeping track of my words. I’m tired of not actually saying the things that touch me. I’ve tried to do that here in veiled ways, hinting at hurts and joys and victories. Living and writing that way though just gives power to the secret and feeds the shame that inevitably accompanies it.
Second, I want to write about what happened after that night. Because there’s power in keeping that a secret too.
What happened after that night is that I entered an alternate universe. It was a place where my outside world looked nothing like my inside world. I continued at school, I continued to have the same friends, I continued to act like all the other teenagers. Minus the sleep problems and the nightmares and the unexplained tears. I lived in that alternate universe for the better part of two years. I weaved wicked webs in those days, creating stories that would allow me cover from those who loved me and wanted to understand what was wrong. Because there were people who noticed the change, who heard my night time ramblings, who saw me wince at certain types of contact, who just knew I was not okay. But lies breed lies and I birthed masterful lies.
I don’t know what changed. Maybe I had just had enough. Maybe I lacked the strength to keep fighting but I ended up telling the truth of that night. It felt like jumping off a cliff. Much like this does now. I remember feeling exactly the same way as I stepped off the platform into North America’s tallest bungee jump. No turning back. Nothing to do but hope against hope that the fall doesn’t end with a splattered body on the ground. Telling the truth didn’t miraculously make it all better. It didn’t end up some After School Special where I learned a lesson and found forgiveness buried somewhere deep in my heart. There was nothing simple about it. It was hard and it stayed hard for a long time. Because telling the truth was just the first in a whole series of steps that have led me to here. Those steps involved many tearful nights, many bad decisions that I’m not proud of, many hours of counselling, and the painful coming out with the story to my close friends and family. But there has also been hope and freedom and new life in this journey. They came slowly, like joy in the morning after weeping at night.
It’s been my own journey and I haven’t always taken the right or straight-forward or moral road. And for that reason among many others, I won’t pretend to offer advice or find the lesson in this story. I have learned and continue to learn what this journey means to teach me. For now, it is enough that I found the courage to tell it.