Did you ever have a secret? Something you didn't want someone else to know? It is a normal part of life. Not everything about us is everyone else's business. I've learned a thing or two about secrets over the years.
Some secrets are small
My secret started small when I simply didn't tell any friends that by 15 years old I had not gotten my period yet. No one needed to know.
Some secrets are temporary
Little temporary secrets don't seem so bad because you think they will eventually fade from the spotlight. My mom suggested we make an appointment with a gynecologist to make sure everything was okay. My friend asked, "Hey, where were you after school yesterday?" I lied and answered, "I had to help my mom with something." I rationalized this little lie thinking it's no one's business anyway.
It turns out the first gynecologist had no idea what he was doing. He declared my hymen was too thick to let my period come through. His solution was to schedule appointments two times a week so he could 'break through' the hymen for me. This bi-weekly exercise was painful not just physically (I'll talk about that in another blog post), but my temporary secret was growing. Now I had to explain why I was missing my sports practice after school regularly, yet I still thought this situation would go away.
Secrets grow bigger
...each time you try to hide them. Eventually, after a series of doctor visits and tests, I was officially diagnosed with MRKH Syndrome. At that time, vaginal reconstructive surgery was the treatment pushed by doctors so my McIndoe surgery was scheduled as soon as possible. My secret JUST. GOT. BIGGER. Now how do I cover up a 10-day hospital stay to friends and family whom I didn't want to tell.
Secrets get heavy
...the longer you carry them. Imagine you are holding two full glasses of water with outstretched arms. That is easy to hold. Now imagine holding them for 15 minutes - uncomfortable. Then 30 minutes goes by - discomfort turns into pain. MRKH was like that for me. Except I held that for 20 years.
Inventing little lies to cover up a secret becomes second-nature, almost a way of life. It may seem trivial like finding reasons to be alone in my college dorm room to dilate. Faking my way through girl talk about periods and birth control (even though I wasn't even having sex, yet). My secret had me lie to my friends and family by never admitting that I'd always wanted to be pregnant, instead my lie was that I wasn't sure if I wanted to have kids. It hurts less that way.
Secrets take on a life of their own
My secret even chose boyfriends for me - boyfriends that were not interested in having children. My secret told me it was protecting me from being rejected for not being able to carry a pregnancy of my own. Eventually, my secret started to lie even to me. You see, it told me I was being open & honest in my relationships. To a select few, I shared that I was born without a uterus. Yet even with my reconstructive surgery well in the past, I couldn't bring myself to say the other half - I was born with an under-developed vagina. Somehow that felt shameful. My secret even told me that I was 'okay' with my MRKH. It was easier to believe that than the truth.
Secrets are destructive
Each time you lie to cover your secret, it teaches you that you are not okay the way you are. The dictionary definition of a secret is, "noun - something that is meant to be kept unknown or unseen by others." Slowly, one little secret at a time - you start to believe YOU are not worth being seen by others. Self-suppression takes over. This is what changes you.
Secrets can't survive in the light
Then one day relaxing on a beautiful beach, I saw a man walk by. He was severely scarred from head to foot including his face and partially amputated arm-maybe an explosion. Much to my own surprise, my first thought upon seeing him was envy. WAIT! What? Yes, you heard me. ENVY. He is so lucky, I thought. His scars are on the outside. He doesn't have to hide them. That split-second thought shed such a bright spotlight on a secret that had taken over my life. I had focused so much energy trying to hide my MRKH from others; I had not seen the real secret I hid from myself. On that bright sunny day, for the first time, I saw the real secret I had been carrying all along - that I felt flawed and scarred inside. And that same day, I decided to put my secret down.
Thanks to that day, I breathe so much easier now. I learned there is a big difference between what's secret and what's private. It's all in how we how we carry it. Secrets are heavy like boulders and eat away at us. Private is much lighter and honors who we are. I still believe that not everyone needs to know the details of my MRKH journey - but it doesn't weigh me down anymore. It's not a secret, it's simply private. You see, the private pieces of us are only meant to be shared in trusted circles, because that is where we find our wholeness. I invite you to put down your secret and let the light shine in.