Someone very close to me advised today that I should not release all of my shadow stories to the public eye. If I want to someday write a book and help others find their lights, she said, perhaps I should not lead with the many dank and soiled things that I experienced in my darkest times. That image of a broken person will stick to me, and my struggles with alcoholism and depression are what I will always be known for. She insisted that people should instead know me for the wonderful things I’ve done, because there are many… And some stories from the past just shouldn’t see the light of day.
Perhaps there is some dirty laundry that I should not air. Perhaps I should shove it deep into the crawlspace and pretend it’s not there.
Or…perhaps the beauty of my story, each of our stories really, is that they are so much more complex than “wonderful vs. broken.” True beauty is found in the dichotomy of discovering love through loathing, joy through sorrow, wisdom through pain. I believe the allure of my story is in its transformative nature: that I am just an earth-bound human who, although I may stand confident and strong today, is made up of many, many growth rings earned by falling and failing again and again. Anybody can stand on the backs of their accomplishments and rave about their triumphs, but it is the baring of a tarnished, damaged soul restored to flawed luster that speaks to our fragile humanity.
So I say, Reveal it all!
Slog out of the tarpits of shame and show every facet of your naked soul. This is how we heal. This is how we become whole again. There are deep, stubborn stains I still wear from some of the choices I have made, but I will not bury them in the crawlspace any more.
Because you know what? No matter how deep you dig that fucking hole, that dirty laundry still exists.
©Vixen Lea 2020