As Sick as Your Secrets
Sooooo, I’ve been watching this show on HBO called Big Little Lies. As far as something to watch goes, it’s pretty okay. The creator is this dude David E. Kelley who created several shows I really liked growing up (The Practice, Doogie Howser MD, Boston Legal, Boston Public), so I gave it a shot. In short, the show focus’ on the lives of these 5 ladies and each of their personal dramas.
SEASON 1 SPOILER ALERT: The first season culminates in the death of one the husbands. This dude had been beating his wife and he bugged out on her one night with all the ladies around. He winds up getting pushed down a flight of stairs and dying. The women lie to the cops and say he slipped. Let the season 2 drama ensue. Sorry to spill the beans.
NOT A SEASON 2 SPOILER: Season two addresses a bunch of the dirt that went on last season. What prompted me wanting to write on this was the effects of harboring the secrets. The wife who was being beaten never told anyone this was going on until after that fateful night by the stairs. Had she spoken up, maybe the external abuse and internal anguish wouldn't have lasted long. The other person that caught my attention was the woman who pushed him in defense of her friend. Because they lied to the cops about what happened, she could never outwardly process and heal from the trauma of having killed someone. As the season progresses, you see the toll it is takes on all her interactions but really, her husband, her daughter, and most importantly within herself.
If you’ve been following the blog for a while you’ve read about me having a daughter at 18 and walking away from that situation. I lied outwardly by omission about having a kid, in turn, I emotionally denied myself the opportunity to process losing her...this was my big little lie. The feelings of guilt, shame, embarrassment, and hurt I felt around that could not be remedied because I couldn’t/wouldn’t talk about my dirty little secret. To diminish the constant presence of pain, I drank. And then I drank more. My life subtly yet suddenly turned into a cycle emotional avoidance and it was destroying me inside. I kept holding all that pain in and it just made for more pain. The feigning of joy got easier the more I conditioned myself to do it but I soon forgot what actual peace, happiness, self-like, self-respect, and actual joy felt like. It’s was a vicious cycle that only got harder to get out of the longer I was in it.
Waaaaaay early in my sobriety, I was having dinner with my friend Elizabeth (founder of www.thisislivinghope.com) and she was talking about her plans to start her website. Over crab legs and shrimp cocktail she tells me: “I’m sure sobriety feels good but you will never be free until you tell your whole truth.” I laughed in her face and said: “I don’t wanna be that free!” I’d built an entire life hiding behind those secrets and coming out from behind that rock was unfathomable. It just wasn’t going to happen. Fast forward a year and change, Living Hope is up serving to inspire so many with their stories of struggle and triumph. Perfectly Imperfect is up, running, and thriving and I am sharing almost all of my truth with an unprecedented number of people on a bi-weekly basis. Elizabeth comes to me and tells me it’s time.
I don’t know why I didn't fight it, but I wrote and submitted the ‘Honesty’ piece. I gotta say, writing something I’d never talk about was a crazy feeling, but that was nothing compared to how I felt when it went live on both websites. I felt naked in front of the world. I felt hollow inside. I thought everyone that knew me would judge and hate me. I thought no one would ever talk to me again. After 10mins of freaking the fuck out, the messages started coming in. Comments on the blog, texts, emails, Facebook, and phone calls, all in support of my courage to own my shit.
The outpouring of support was awesome but the standout thing in all that was freedom like I have never experienced before. Physically, I felt lighter. Emotionally, I felt clean (if that makes any sense). Generally, I felt something I don’t think I’d felt in 18yrs...I felt okay.
Cliche time: The truth will set you free. You can’t save your face and your ass at the same time. The people who matter don’t care and the people who care don’t matter. Biblically, "We overcome by our testimony."
Shame is a poison (that we’ve all consumed) and rather than tell someone I drank the poison so they can help me find the antidote, I chose to stay sick.
The two biggest things I get from sharing my life with you all are 1) There's nothing hanging over my head. I am free to be perfectly imperfect Ben. And most importantly 2) I open myself to receive and be of service to others. Someone may be going through what I'm going through, if I open up, someone has the opportunity to know, which gives them the opportunity to help. If I've made it through then maybe, just maybe, I can help take the load off someone else. It's why we exist.
I have been telling you guys literally, ALL of my business for over two years now. When I was writing from the pain (my son, my father, depression etc), I received messages of encouragement and assistance. When writing from enlightenment (after the problem), I've been told that it inspires introspection.
I don't know if you've pushed somebody down a flight of stairs, you're in a tumultuous relation-sitch, or there's just some shit that no one would ever know about if you didn't say anything yet it's still effecting you; do like Frozen and LET IT GO!
Fear is a wall that is a million miles high and a million miles wide, but it’s paper-thin...punch through and FREE YOURSELF otherwise you’ll always be As Sick as Your Secrets.
Thanks for reading.