Do you have a secret that you don’t want anyone to know? Or feel like you can’t talk about something because you feel shame and guilt?

When we feel shame and guilt about something that happened, something we felt, or even just about parts of ourself we hide, we start to be afraid that someone will find out, causing tension.

I get this feeling in my gut, full of anxiousness, and tightness. And eventually it goes away as my mind tucks it away in a dark, quiet corner, buried deep , and almost forgotten.

Although the immediate discomfort goes away, there it sits still in the dark, stuck energy getting stagnant and old. It doesn’t seem like much, but like a pebble in a lake, it ripples to all parts of my life.

This one secret, this one part that I withhold from the world, that one withhold I deny in myself, plagues me.

Recently, a memory of my past, something I had tucked away, a memory of being date raped twice in one night. I was drunk, and they gave my friend and I some beers. How could they? They were our “friends”?

Even as I write this now, my mind is racing, wondering if I should erase this post. I’m not ready to share this or am I? This was over 30 years ago… and the shame still haunts me.

There’s fear of judgment, being blamed, and criticized. Fear of being in the wrong, fear that it was all my fault, I deserved it. Fear that someone I know will turn this around and used it against me. To control and manipulate me.

I know this is the part of me that hasn’t matured because she’s been locked away for so many years. But the past trauma of being judged, criticized, manipulated with my vulnerability, or even made to feel helpless, has held me back from telling this story.

As I talk about empowering women, holding a safe and sacred space for women to be open and vulnerable, I felt the need to step one foot further, and to share my story out of circle.

Because being in circle with women who get me, hear me, feel me, and also see my strength, they hold me so I can let go, and so I can reclaim what has always been mine.

I sit now, on the verge of tears, feeling the pain of the experience, feeling the fear of judgement that I felt then and now, and the fear of hitting “publish”.

Let me cry and maybe I won’t feel so afraid.

Let me hit this button, so the tension of this moment will be done.

… With love.

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