All We Left Behind is a love story about two teenagers who don’t want to share their secrets, only to discover that true intimacy requires vulnerability and facing their shame. Silence is a strong theme in the novel and at my book launch I talked a lot about the power silence can have over us. Silence can feed the shame and allow our secrets to control us.
In Brene Brown’s book Daring Greatly, she says:
“Shame derives its power from being unspeakable.”
“Shame is particularly hard because it hates having words wrapped around it. It hates being spoken.”
For my protagonists, Kurt and Marion, speaking their secrets and wrapping them in words is one of the hardest things they will ever do. But a necessary step for healing, self-forgiveness, and true connection.
I’m not a big fan of messages in books, but I do think one of the takeaways I gained from writing this novel is the importance of sharing our stories. I’ve found myself becoming an advocate for giving a voice to the things we hide and cause us to feel shame. I believe in sharing our secrets with people we trust.
In hopes of shedding light on shame, I created the #ShareYourSecrets box. I asked the attendees of my book launch to start this activity by anonymously writing on a piece of paper: a secret, a reason they feel/felt shame, or something they’ve left behind. The results are powerful. Some are silly, using humor to mask fear. Others are heartbreaking and honest. I’ve shared them all below, and hope that these truths might help you to feel like you’re not alone.
I invite you to be brave and participate in this initiative! You can share secrets directly on your own social media by using the hashtag #ShareYourSecrets. Or if you’d like to share your secrets anonymously, email me your secret via my CONTACT FORM. You can download and print the image below and hand write your secret, then scan/photograph it and email it to me. Or you can simply email me the secret and I will write it on a paper for you.
I will be posting more secrets as I receive them! Thank you to everyone who’s already participated. Please share these secrets and help wrap shame in words.
“If we cultivate enough awareness about shame to name it and speak to it, we’ve basically cut it off at the knees. Shame hates having words wrapped around it. If we speak shame, it begins to wither. Just the way exposure to light was deadly for the gremlins, language and story bring light to shame and destroy it.” – Brene Brown (Daring Greatly)