I’m a lesbian. I have not one but two ex-husbands. I am 50 pounds overweight (down from 60, so that’s something). I’m fine with the Jesus thing but I’d rather hug a tree. And right now, I’m writing this article instead of doing the dishes piled up in my kitchen from yesterday and the floors and bathrooms look like a bunch of cats and teenagers live here without parental influence (It’s nothing I couldn’t fix with an hour or so but still).
So there, you know some scandalous stuff about me and now, you know the truth… we both have stuff that would be tempting to keep secret.
I didn’t share it because I necessarily care if you know all there is to know about me, although I don’t mind if you do. I did it because… well, I’m watching secrets destroy people every day and I think that shame is a stupid way to go down.
In September, I started a clutter clearing program for people who are sick of being stuck and ready to make a change. The first step was to take pictures of their space and send them to me. I wasn’t sharing them. I received so many pictures that I could never tell them apart or mentally pair them with the people who were participating in the group calls or checking in on the website every day. No way. It didn’t serve me at all.
It wasn’t for me.
The picture taking was a wake-up call for them. We see our stuff, for better or worse, differently live than in an image. We need to pause for a moment to see where we are beginning to really appreciate the journey. More importantly, in sending them to me, they exposed themselves in a brand new way. They let the cat out of the bag. They told the thing they never tell. They let someone into the space that, for many of us, hurts the most.
Many of these wonderful people told me that it had been years since anyone saw some of these spaces, and a couple admitted that years had passed since anyone was allowed to come into their home. One woman threatened harm, at least partly jokingly, if I ever showed anyone the pictures she emailed me. This is personal.
Taking the pictures is a huge step but sharing them with someone else is epic.
Telling your secret is a freeing move… sometimes even life saving.
Continued: The reasons that sharing means freedom.