I’m humbled by the warm welcome I received at three high schools I visited in Vermont at the beginning of this month. It’s not easy to stand in front of a group of real teenagers and talk about the difficult subject matter of All We Left Behind. Sex, intimacy, shame, and secrets are among the themes discussed, and they’re topics that are too often swept under the rug and left in silence.
It took a lot of vulnerability to write All We Left Behind, and perhaps even more to get up in front of a crowd and talk about it. I’m amazed and filled with so much gratitude at the attention and thoughtfulness of the students who came to hear me speak. It means the world to me to know these topics are something teens respect and want to hear about.
As part of my presentation, I quoted Brene Brown’s book Daring Greatly, wherein she said:
“Shame derives its power from being unspeakable … but if we cultivate enough awareness about shame to name it and speak to it, we’ve basically cut it off at the knees … 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.”
I invited students to help wrap shame in words by sharing stories and secrets as part of my #ShareYourSecrets campaign. Again, I was humbled by the number of students who participated. Their secrets are powerful. We need to listen to them.
I’ve been posting the secrets daily on my Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook Page. You can also find them with the hastags: #shareyoursecrets and #wrapshameinwords
I had a wonderful time meeting all the amazing students in Vermont, teaching about writing, and breaking the silence on the topics from All We Left Behind. Below are some images from my adventures!
It was so wonderful to meet the librarians and educators at all the schools I visited. You have no idea the power and influence you have. You’re truly rock stars. Thank you so much for hosting me!