There is strength in speaking your truth – unless it’s a lie. The lies we tell ourselves – that we’re not good enough, not strong enough, or capable enough – get in the way of living an authentic life. And I just got a wake-up call that signaled that it’s high time I get out of my own way – and maybe off my phone.

Sometimes I feel like my phone is my only friend. And a crappy friend, at that. It’s an addiction of our generation, and it’s a vicious one. Like all addictions, we tell ourselves (and each other) that we “need” our phones. That it’s a “necessary evil”. Well, when did a happy life include something we would even flippantly refer to as evil?

Whatever the effects of this admission of addiction, rest assured it comes with a cause. Over the past couple months, I’ve become acutely aware of where I am relinquishing control in my life. ***TRIGGER WARNING*** . It was 2 months ago that I found out, after a lifetime living and suffering from addiction, my stepfather committed suicide. I haven’t been able to share the news with many people because, frankly, I don’t know how to talk about it. As a closeted gay teen, I contemplated suicide myself. My addiction then was telling myself the same lie over and over again: I’m weak. I’m worthless. And I don’t matter. Were these thought going through my stepfather’s head in his final moments? We’ll never know. But what I do know is that he wasn’t weak, he wasn’t worthless, and he mattered – truths he never could speak that are now ours to learn.

What I know to be true is this: the truth liberates. Which is how I know that fear is not “my truth”, nor was it my stepfather’s. Fear is our lie. It’s the lie that tells us we are small, that we’re unworthy or unable. Maybe it’s a lie you tell yourself, too. But maybe, like me, you’ve been told the exact opposite. Maybe people have told you you’ve had a big impact on their lives; that they’re grateful for your friendship; that your life has value. That’s your truth. It’s just a matter of believing it for yourself.

So you know what? I’m going to throw the lies and omissions in the garbage and spread Truth. My stepfather’s suicide was tragic, yes. But it was a call for me to step out of my own lies and quietly closeted fears. And I want you – whoever you are – to join me. Gone are the days of throwing my phone across the room. I’m going to use it and every avenue I have to tell my truth, and my truth is this:

I am a survivor of depression and suicidal ideation.
I am a survivor of an alcoholic, traumatized, and tortured stepfather.
I am a survivor of sexual assault.
I am a steward of peace.
I am a writer and a diarist.
I am in a loving, committed relationship with a beautiful man.
I know I am supported, but I often don’t feel it, because I am telling myself a lie that I’m alone.
And although I may have lost sight of my own power, I won’t lose my integrity.

Telling the truth sets us free, and I have so many more truths yet to be told, so let’s start here. And then together we can grow from love – the truest thing I have ever had the privilege of knowing.

If this story speaks to you or someone you may know, please share the love. And feel free to subscribe to my mailing list for regular updates on new and upcoming articles and projects. Love, Tyler.

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