|Photo Credit © 2012 – Veronica Marie Lewis-Shaw. All Rights Reserved|
There are three kinds of secrets… the ones that we tell only our closest friends… the ones that we tell no one… and the ones that we don’t even know we have. The first two kinds of secrets are as tangible as an orange in one’s hand. They have a shape and a weight to them… almost a physicality. But the third kind of secret is the secret that we possess, but whose shape and weight is invisible to us… this is the secret that has not yet been revealed to us.
Pssst… come here… closer… closer… you want to know a secret?
I’m a lesbian.
I am a lesbian and I always have been one. From the day I was born… no, not from the day I was born… from the very moment I first had consciousness. Oh, I didn’t know that I was a lesbian… not for a long time. That was a secret that I kept even from myself. Not because I didn’t want to know it, but because I was not aware of it. This was the third kind of secret… the one we don’t know ourselves that we possess.
And it isn’t denial… it goes much deeper than that. Denial must be preceded by awareness.
Growing up I had secrets and I learned the secrets of others, but the secret that was my own, that no one else knew… I did not either. I possessed it, but I did not know that I did so… not for a very long time.
What reveals a secret? Usually it is the need to share. Sometimes it is a need or a desire for revenge that makes us reveal a secret. But what about the secret that we don’t know we have? How is that revealed?
What triggers the revelation of the third kind of secret?
For me, it wasn’t a ‘what’, but a ‘who’.
It was the summer of 2002… a few weeks before my seventeenth birthday and the beginning of college life. I and several of my high school friends had gathered for one last get-together before we went our separate ways… to west coast, east coast, southern and northern universities. Only this day, there was an invited ‘stranger’ among us… Kim’s cousin, Amanda.
And when Amanda offered her hand in greeting… and our fingers touched and our eyes met…
Time stood still… and the secret that I didn't know I had was revealed.
I am a lesbian.
Veronica Marie Lewis-Shaw
8 September 2013
(Writing under a large mushroom, somewhere in the
) Pacific Northwest