No matter our age, backgrounds, gender (or non-gender), we are each the author of our own Personal Myth— a rich, ever-expanding tapestry of experiences, desires, dreams, and imagination. Our Personal Myths render glimpses into our internal landscapes, giving meaning to our struggles and insight to our Purpose. Unlike other mythology we find in the world, our Personal Myths are not set in stone, nor are they lessons on fate or morality; they are fluid, evolving discourses with our selves, our loved ones, society, and the universe.
Picking up right where Riven left off, Secret Keeper is the next phase in Emily’s Personal Myth, exploring her physical, mental, and emotional journey as a young woman living with PTSD, recovering from Childhood Sexual Abuse (CSA), and voicing the secret that has weighed on her soul for most of her life.
While Riven focuses on the path out of self-harm to self-acceptance and self-mercy,Secret Keeper explores some of the many possible behavioral effects caused by CSA, including re-victimization and perpetuation of the abuse cycle. Emily grapples with both as she tries to understand and internalize concepts of self-worth and consent.
Conveying these concepts through allegory was at the forefront of my mind as I wroteSecret Keeper, because they are so challenging. Like Emily, I have also grappled with addiction to attraction and connection as a result of being primed at an early age. My recovery is ongoing, but through therapy, strong support systems, and writing, I have the power to heal.
Secret Keeper doesn’t have a happy ending. Upon finishing, you may well wonder how Emily could ever be okay. But you also know her story isn’t over. This is not the ending; it’s a critical phase in a life-long process of healing and becoming. You know Emily is smart, loving, and determined. She will never give up on her Purpose.
We all slip, stumble, or fall face down sometimes. Like Emily, we may even hurt the people we love the most. But we get through it, and if we try, we can turn these failures into opportunities to be better people. The most important thing any of us can do is to be kind to ourselves. Even when you feel like things couldn’t possibly get any worse, or when you think you’ve screwed up so badly there’s no hope, your story isn’t over. You have Purpose. You are wanted and you are needed. Like Emily, life is flawed and tough and at times seemingly impossible. But it is also resilient and achingly beautiful. So are you. So is your Myth.
If you, or someone you know is struggling with PTSD or any of these issues, I urge you to seek help. Talk to someone. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255) provides 24/7 free and confidential support for people in distress. RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) is the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization, which created and operates the National Sexual Assault Hotline (800-656-HOPE), online @ rainn.org y rainn.org/es).
If you have any questions or comments for me, tweet them to me at @JaneAlveyHarris. I’d love to hear from you! I’m excited to share Emily’s continuing journey with you in Primed.