When I came out to my wife she was angry that I had hid from her that I was trans, she felt like I had deceived her through our relationship and marriage. I struggled to explain how this wasn’t a secret I could ever tell, it was too deep for that.

We have a tradition of me reading a chapter from a book every night before bed. Currently we are reading The Wise Man’s Fear, by Patrick Rothfuss, and when I read this part of the book I just paused and we both looked at each other meaningfully.

Teccam explains there are two types of secrets. There are secrets of the mouth and secrets of the heart.

Most secrets are secrets of the mouth. Gossip shared and small scandals whispered. There secrets long to be let loose upon the world. A secret of the mouth is like a stone in your boot. At first you’re barely aware of it. Then it grows irritating, then intolerable. Secrets of the mouth grow larger the longer you keep them, swelling until they press against >your lips. They fight to be let free.

Secrets of the heart are different. They are private and painful, and we want nothing more than to hide them from the world. They do not swell and press against the mouth. They live in the heart, and the longer they are kept, the heavier they become.

Teccam claims it is better to have a mouthful of poison than a secret of the heart. Any fool will spit out poison, he says, but we hoard these painful treasures. We swallow hard against them every day, forcing them deep inside us. They they sit, growing heavier, festering. Given enough time, they cannot help but crush the heart that holds them.

― Patrick Rothfuss, The Wise Man’s Fear

My gender was absolutely a secret of the heart, but only because I was never allowed to speak it to begin with. If I had not felt unsafe to express it as a teen, I never would have repressed it so deep.