Ever shared a big secret? A secret you felt would tarnish the self created image you’ve curated?
I’ve been sharing my self altering secrets over the course of almost 2 years with my partner. There aren’t many, but they were real enough I felt embarrassed to keep them hidden. Like almost all of us, we don’t want to be seen as the sum of a few choices we’ve made, even ones we repeated or knew something was off in the moment but chose to act upon anyway. Sometimes we’re so shocked at our own behavior, we hide the action because we feel shame, surprise, sinful, or we may have even liked it in the moment. Perhaps the action isn’t always regretted, but how we’ll be perceived makes us feel badly.
I told my final secret, “the big one”. There were many openings over time to confess, but the courage evaded me. Not sure what came over me to tell the truth, except perhaps I realized keeping the secret even longer was becoming worst than what I did. I didn’t let myself talk me out of it based on the consequences. I was working so hard on being a better me, but I kept hitting a wall. I had to consider this was why I’d never get there.
I think most people can hold secrets not because they’re terrible people, but because their framily can’t pick up on it. Or if they do, they dismiss it because they have no evidence except an unsubstantiated feeling. They may not want to sound insecure or accusatory. We might even feel we’re good liars. I couldn’t pride myself on this trait. In this we forget we’re robbing that person of trusting their instincts, an innate ability they’ll need for people or situations that can genuinely hurt them. When your partner is not only intuitive but expressive of their compass, you definitely can’t hide forever. And when you’re me, the energy of the secretive fear oozes out. And when you’re my awesome partner Redd, you’d pick up on something veiled. It had to come full circle eventually.
I’m not going to tell you my secret, so don’t wait for it haha. What I’ll tell you is if you’re holding something back, you probably haven’t accepted and forgiven yourself. You’re putting off the work. A lot of people own up to some crazy experiences. We wonder what they were thinking or how they got into that situation. Better yet, how are they so comfortable telling the whole world about it? They may say they haven’t forgiven themselves, but they’ve taken a big step when they rob fear and shame of its power. People who are caught and have to confess is another story because fear and shame may still have the power. I don’t take pride in not being caught and why should I? When did we begin to admire deceptive and manipulative behaviors?
Somehow my big reveal worked out in its own way. I have consequences to face over time until whatever was lost is rebuilt. Everything bad I wanted to say and feel came true. Before I thought I’d explode if those things were true, even for a moment, but after it was said and done, I was surprisingly okay. Yes I was remorseful but I didn’t explode. A separate you gets created to hide your secrets. You become your secrets keeper instead of an authentic you. When it’s revealed, the weight disappears. There’s just you.
I feel raw, naked. I feel there’s nothing left to hide about me except minor things I feel comfortable expressing, but society isn’t into hearing exists because we want to pretend secrets aren’t secrets. We want people to keep certain things hidden and for this we really gotta question our boundaries and fears about selective honesty. For example, I don’t shave my armpits. It’s no secret. I’m not hiding it, by I’m not openly sharing it either. I don’t mind letting people know, but society doesn’t want women sharing the existence of their armpit hair. So, it’s a secret. Or was now!
Just remember, your secrets create a world to hold all those thoughts and feelings in. Imagine walking at night (your secret) and a dog bites a chunk from your leg (the consequence). You see the dog: it has some disease you’re probably now infected with. You continue with life never really looking at your leg, just somehow knowing it’s spreading (guilt, shame). A part of it mutates into touch. Whoever you contact with frequently (relationships of any kind) gets infected with the mutation (consequence). You know they deserve to know no matter how you got the bite (you took a wrong or intentional turn), but you say nothing. Now they have this subconscious nagging they can’t pinpoint. Your secrets aren’t just yours if they involve other people’s lives.
You may feel you’re protecting whoever from the pain and hurt, but most likely they’ll be more hurt you could hold a lie of whatever magnitude for so long. Trust will be lost. Some consequences are best faced than withheld. Ask who you’re really protecting and if they’d really prefer the truth. It will seem sharing can or will rip your world. Even if it does, you can do something about an honest and ripped wide open world, but you can’t heal a wound you pretend isn’t there.