Family secrets. Truths not told. Sensitive feelings. Things swept under the rug. These can be big barriers to writing a book. Big risks.
Some of us have stories that we’ve had to bury out of respect—or fear—of others. All our lives, we’ve pretended that things are okay, and we’ve hidden truths that have hurt us in order to protect someone else. We’ve lived under the shadow of other people’s choices, and we want to finally be set free. Except we’re afraid. Really afraid.
Perhaps you’ve been a victim of sexual abuse, or you grew up in a violent family, or you suffered under the lash of a parent’s alcoholism or other addiction. Maybe your husband is a closet homosexual or your child is struggling desperately with his or her gender identity. You know your story can literally save or change someone else’s life, but you’re afraid to tell the truth because it could hurt other people. Some of our stories are built from shame. I understand because my story comes from that same place too. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t tell it. I promise, someone else is going through the same thing and your story could be the hope and help they desperately need to walk through the darkness.
Keep the End in Mind
It might be best to stop obsessing over the people you might hurt and focus on the people you can help. The problem with dirty little secrets is that they get stashed away, and when you find yourself in the middle of one of them, you’re convinced that you’re completely alone because people don’t talk about this stuff.
When you were smack in the middle of your pain, chances are you felt totally alone. There was no one to talk to and no one who understood. This type of isolation is deadly. You have to bury the pain, and you eventually have to split off from yourself to survive. You maintain a public façade that you protect with all your energy, and in doing so, you lose touch with yourself because you’re living a lie.
What if you’d had a book to be your friend? What if you’d connected with a fellow sufferer—the book’s author—and felt the compassion of someone who’d been through the same thing but was now on the other side of it? Would you want to know how things got better for that individual, to see a path out of darkness for yourself?
What if you could be that author?
Human beings are resilient, but there are two things we can’t live without: hope and help. When you tell your story—what you’ve been through, what you’ve endured, and what you’ve overcome—you can be the lifeline for someone who is sinking. You can be that voice of hope and help.