The same was true when I talked about my struggles with the Mormon church.
Actually, that has been the most true of all of them, and that’s the one whose secrets are becoming so annoyingly tedious to bare, being that it surrounds me everywhere I go.
Siblings. Aunts. Uncles. Cousins (several of them). Ex in-laws. Friends (so many friends). People in the grocery store. Past church leaders. Neighbors. Old high school acquaintances. And you, my dear readers. So many of you.
“I don’t believe it anymore.” “I never believed it.” “I wish I could leave so badly.” “I am so envious of you.” “I stopped believing a long time ago.”
Always followed with, “please don’t say anything. To anyone.”
People’s reasons for that are stacked as high as a Heisenberg cash pile.
“My spouse would leave me.” “I don’t want to disappoint my parents.” “No one would ever understand.” “I’m just stuck in it forever, I’ve gotten used to that.” I could go on for hours.
“But it’s really important you don’t say anything to anyone, okay?”
The same scary reasons exist for those struggling with sexuality, or abuse, or other things they’ve confided in me. “My spouse will look at me differently.” “My parents would disown me.” “No one would ever understand.”
I am so tired of hearing, “I wish I were as brave as you.”
It’s exhausting to hear, “I wish I had the courage you have.”
I don’t want to hear how brave I am! I want to hear how brave you are! I don’t want to hear how you envy my freedom and my authenticity. I want to hear how you cherish your own!
And I really don’t want to hear why it was different for me than it is for you or how it was easier for me than it is for you.
Remember that one secret that I almost killed myself, not that relatively long ago?
It was to escape my final and biggest secret. You think I don’t know how hard secrets are? You think I’ve never struggled to keep them pushed to the back of my mind and hidden from the world like you have? Oh, my friends, I have been there. I promise you.
And you know what? I now have the best life ever. I am so happy with the life I have. I wake up every day, rain or shine, sick or healthy, upbeat or depressed even, and I am still happy because my life is my own. It belongs to no one else, and that’s something money and fear will never buy.
But you know what else? People love me more for sharing my secrets. I’m sure you’ve noticed. I have lost very few people in my life because I shared my secrets, which is ironic since I lost a lot of people in my life because of my secrets.
And people will love you for sharing your secrets. If they don’t… well… who cares. You’ll be free.
I know, easier said than done.