When I started writing my first book, Demons in the Cellar, the biggest question in my mind was, how will this affect my daily life? What will happen if I talk about being sexually and physically abused, about poverty and hoarding? Will everyone look at me with pity or accuse me of lies? Will family members dis-own me, will guilt eat me alive?
It’s quite nerve-wracking to consider airing stuff like this. That’s what makes it a dirty secret. It makes you feel dirty, unworthy, spoiled, like garbage. Shame, blame, we take it on ourselves. The only way out, is to let it out.
And a month after the big reveal, I stand here to report what has changed: not much. There haven’t been any negatives so far. Daily life is pretty much the same. I go to work, I talk to my friends. Most of these people haven’t read the book; they haven’t read any books this year! They don’t know the big secrets of my past.
Everyone who has read it, calls me “brave” and talks about my triumph. They have referred it to others who need it, they tell me. It seems to be a successful venture so far.
I have more peace in my life. I climbed a mountain and looked out over the prairie. I can see farther from here. look down over that pristine blue lake, feel the breeze.
I picked the lock on that black iron prison and I walk free, or at least, more free than before. Challenges all around, but I know I have the strength to face them.
And it’s not enough. The problems are out there. Countless people are afraid, they let what was done to them, define them. They feel the shame, they live it and never leave it. Can an example of “bravery” give them the courage to let it out, let go? I want to know if this can really help victims move past their programming and terrible experiences.
What I really need to do, to test the waters, is go after bigger game. Everyone has to know this story, and I mean everyone. And then we will see if I’m still brave…