When you share your story, you shed a light on the truth. The truth that for some people, has been hiding in the shades of shame and embarrassment. I know how that feels, I used to feel ashamed of my story as well. I mean, who would like to hear MY story? I used to ask. I thought no one would care.
So, for decades I held back and kept my past in secrecy, just like when I was a child. "Tell them that it was an accident, that you hit your face against the table", they would say. And as a little person who has learnt not to disobey the grown-ups, I would smile and tell people that everything was okay: "Silly me, hit the eye against the table" when in reality, a trusted hand was the only thing that hit me.
That's not the story you want to tell over a cup of tea, or laying down on the sofa, trust me, I know how it feels. It's always tricky when you know you have to tell your story. For me, it was scary. But I was tired of hiding. I didn't want to keep pretending that I had a 'normal' childhood, whatever that means. I knew I had to do this so I could be myself around people. I also wanted my loved ones to understand things like the reason why am I not comfortable in some situations or why I don't like to look at or show pictures of my childhood and why fights and screams may trigger me sometimes. It may be tough at the beginning, but trust me on this one: You are doing yourself a favour by telling your story and being opened to share bits of it.
For me, telling my story was my passport to freedom. I realized I was carrying the shame that should not be mine but that unfortunately, so many victims of violence carry with them. Hearing my own words, reading my sentences of the story I was once in, somehow set me free and helped me let go of the past. When you don't tell your story, it feels like you are hiding something. Do you know what people usually hide? You guessed it! Something to be ashamed of. You know what? You have NOTHING to be ashamed. Just like me, you are A SURVIVOR, you should be proud of yourself for getting this far! And for being brave enough to choose a different path for your life, for breaking patterns every day.
I have to say that you will not find my entire story anywhere, but you will find the bits I was ready to share. Lucky enough, I am now more and more open, as I peel the layers and tackle the consequences of the trauma I suffered, one by one. The reason I share this with you is that I don't want you to be under the impression that you need to go all in. If that's what you feel in your heart and want to do, you have my full support. But if you are not ready yet to share everything, just share what you feel 'kinda' comfortable to share right now. I say 'kinda' because it's going to be VERY uncomfortable the first, second and third time you tell the story. Around the tenth time, you will feel like you are telling someone else's narrative. I know it's crazy, but also true!
Even though you are not your past, what you have been trough is a part of who you are. And who you are should be celebrated. People WANT to hear your story, they want to SEE you. This world needs more REAL. We are all craving realness. I think that's because we have so many untold stories and a bunch of misconceptions about each other lives. If I hadn't heard about the story of people I admire, like Oprah, Iyanla Vanzant, Lisa Nichols, Lewis Howes and so many other beautiful spirits, I don't know where I would be. Their story showed me what's possible for me. Who knows what your story can do for other people? And for yourself! All I know is that something magical happens when you tell people your story.
You don't have to tell everyone what you have been through, of course, but are you hiding your truth? I know from experience how hard it is when you know that telling your story would help but you stay silent instead. So, consider doing it. Start with the people you trust, let go of the shame and walk on your truth. When you get there, we will not even need you to tell us anything. We will know because we will SEE you.