By Tiffany Gardner
I have been drowning for two years with two weights tied to my legs, pulling me beneath the surface, dragging me down.
The first weight was my biological father ending our relationship, and subsequently being ignored by every member of his family. I thought that hope was keeping me afloat, but now I realize I was hanging onto dead weight. I wrote my final communications to him and to the family that has ignored me earlier this week, and if they ever choose to face the truth with honor, that will be on them.
The second weight was myself, my secret, my false genetic identity. I have dreaded telling my extended family the truth, afraid that they would disown me or see me differently. But the same day that I cut the cord to my other weight, I decided on the spur of the moment that I had to free myself from this one as well. So I started making phone calls in tears. It was not easy, but my family members could hear the pain in my voice and in my story. And far from what I had been afraid would happen, my story did not change how they felt about me. They acknowledged that it was a big deal to me, but it is not a big deal to them. They love me for me.
I had prepared myself to deal with the consequences, because keeping the secret was no longer an option. I have a brother who I want to openly celebrate, nephews I want to openly celebrate, and good things that I want to openly celebrate. And if my family could not do that with me, then I did not need to be loved for someone I genetically am not. Thankfully, my fears were unfounded.Tiffany and her brother, Brad
I know a lot of you are keeping things a secret, and I want to tell you that you don’t have to. If you want to live your truth, live your truth. We only have one life, and none of us are guaranteed tomorrow. Be who you are today. Celebrate your new siblings. Show the world the love you want to receive, and maybe your story will change hearts and minds. If your family cannot accept you, that is on them. And if they cannot love you with the truth in the open, do they really love you with the truth in the dark?
I am done hiding. I am done lying by omission. I am done with feeling as if I cannot live to the fullest. I am done walking on eggshells. I am done with the drowning. I am ready to surface and to bring others up with me. We deserve to fully live our lives.
I hope you will join me.