Each of us has a secret. Some secrets are bits of our past that we hide from the world. Some secrets are hopes for our future that we feel unentitled to utter out loud. And some secrets are entire portions of ourselves that we hold hostage in a dark, locked place. This last group of secrets is often the most damaging. They are most often the secrets that eat us alive from the inside. Like a parasite stealing nutrients from its host, they prevent us from being wholly us, growing into our biggest and strongest selves. They are secrets rarely uttered on deathbeds, but more often they are carried into the Great Beyond, where perhaps they have another chance in another life to make themselves known. Some secrets are perhaps meant to be kept, but not these.
My secret? I am a writer. I have been since I was a young girl, but I’ve kept this hidden for a really long time to focus on my “real life”, the one that makes me money and feeds my family. The one that seems so much more practical and rooted in the “real world”. But this secret, rather than staying buried deep and forgotten as I had intended, has been clawing its way out. It has followed me for over twenty-five years and over forty-five geographic relocations. It stayed quiet for a long time, and then it started to softly hum and now it is singing tentatively along with the radio, turned up just loud enough to cover its voice. It’s time for my secret to take center stage.
For the vast majority of my life, to the outside world, I have appeared to be a pretty level-headed and practical human being. (Well, until recently. But more on that in a later post.) I am a veterinarian, well-studied in the biological sciences. And I love science. It is incredibly fascinating to learn about the inner workings of the world that we humans have parsed apart so far. But it is now even more fascinating to me to ponder the workings of the Universe that we are just beginning to consider. Actually, that isn’t entirely accurate. The workings to which I’m referring are the true mysteries, the ones which organized religions throughout history have attempted to explain but all too often shrouded those mysteries in a hierarchical, patriarchal framework that quite literally sucked all of the magic and mystery out of the magical and mystical. Some humans, however, have been fortunate enough to tap into this mystery. We usually call them artists and we wonder what they are doing with their lives. I want to be one. I am one. I believe we all are, or we could be if we took the time to silence our “real lives” for a while and acknowledge our secrets.
So, what’s the big deal? So I’m a writer, why is that so difficult to acknowledge? Many writers are unbelievably successful individuals with fortunes most of us can only imagine and a cultural influence that is both powerful and everlasting. With professional perks such as those, who wouldn’t want to be a writer? Writers are also some pretty brave folks. Taking inspiration and ideas, crafting them into words to which the rest of humanity can relate, and affixing your name to those words takes guts because once you put your work out into the world, you are unabashedly and unapologetically judged for it. And let’s be honest, none of us likes being judged.
So why not write and keep it all to myself? Why not keep journals, compose poetry, or pen manuscripts and stash them in my boxsprings where no one will ever find them? Well, I’ve done that, for a couple of decades it turns out, and it is cathartic to simply put the words on the page. But one of the most deeply satisfying feelings we can experience in this life is the feeling of connecting to another person, and I have come to the point where I am ready to see if my writing – my baby steps into the mystery – will connect with other people.
And therein lies the purpose of this blog. I know that I am not the only person who is struggling to find a way to acknowledge her secret, to make that secret a legitimate and visible part of my being. And I would like to share this struggle publicly (yikes!!) in the hopes that those of you reading who are also struggling will see that you have a tribe, even if it may only be a tribe of two!