I did something really scary (so scary I pretty much stopped talking about it right after I did it):
I told the truth.
Actually, that’s not entirely correct. I wrote the truth. The truth of my story, which is really the only truth I know.
I wrote it down and sent it to someone else to read and then suddenly I was in a crowd of other young women of faith writing the truths of their stories, and now suddenly we’re here.
We’re here sharing our stories with anyone who wants to read them. We’re here sharing our stories with you.
After I did this horribly scary, possibly foolish, completely uncomfortable thing, I wasn’t totally sure why I’d done it.
Why risk telling the truth of my story when it might end up really hurting or embarrassing me?
Why write it down in a way that it can’t be forgotten or edited or hidden under a mountain of rocks somewhere, never to be recovered?
Why talk about what it means to really live my Christian faith — in the gritty, authentic, this-is-not-a-fire-drill kind of way that’s easier to hide than to admit?
I wasn’t sure why I’d written my story until last week when I mentioned this feat of
stupidity courage to two of my close friends and co-workers.
I told them I had a secret I wanted to share, and then I told them I’d written an essay that was getting published. They, predictably, squealed and praised before asking why I’d keep something like that a secret.
I wrote about my personal life, I told them, and how it intersects with my faith. I wrote about how the church can be overwhelming and suffocating at the same time as it can be welcome and grace-filled.
All of us, the dozens of truth-telling women in this book, wrote about these things. We wrote about sex and abuse and dating and love and marriage and fear and relationships and desire and purity.
Not in an abstract, clinical way, but in a raw, honest way. We wrote about our own experience with these things. My friends understood immediately why this was something terrifying for me (but they didn’t take back their squeals and praises).
And then? Then we talked.
It was like some secret door had been opened in the space between us and suddenly they both wanted to tell their stories, to speak about their experiences with religion and taboo.
Our stories were different; our lives are different. But each story matters, and we were all relieved and excited to have someone to share with.
People are hungry to have this conversation! They are searching for a safe space to be honest about their lives in a way they often feel they can’t be. We are all longing to be our whole selves, right where we are, and to share those whole selves with each other.
After my conversation with my friends ended, I realized that was why I had risked telling my story. Integrity is not an easy thing, but it is a precious and powerful thing.
Every time I have taken a step into a space of courageous authenticity, I have found that so many shining, sparkling souls are standing right there with me.
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Want to learn more? Check out these posts by the editors, Enuma Okoro and Erin Lane or go visit the Indiegogo site for Talking Taboo to watch a video of these fabulous ladies chatting about the project.