The Secrets That We Keep

SecretsHow many of us huddled together on the playground and cupped our hands over a friend’s ear to whisper hidden words that we had never uttered before?  We shared our innermost thoughts and dreams to our pals after they pinky promised to “never tell anyone so long as I live.”  Perhaps we divulged our feelings for a classmate or confessed to something embarrassing.  Whatever the reason, we decided to unleash the truth and almost immediately felt a weight had been lifted.  There’s a reason websites like PostSecret are so popular.  People need to let it out, to ease the burden of secret keeping and be honest, if not with others than with themselves.

As adults, we all keep secrets.  It’s just the way it is.  Some people hide feelings about their best friend’s spouse or what they did last Saturday night.  Health conditions, past mistakes, and relationships are concealed under the cloaks of omission and lies.  We portray rosy dispositions when we may be struggling with something that gnaws at our emotional core, but that we feel we must keep to ourselves.

We hide parts of our lives from those around us for so many reasons.  We’re afraid of how people will react to the truth or how their opinions of our character will be changed once the secret is out.  We worry that people won’t understand the truth or how/why we’ve tried to protect them from it.  Maybe we’re even a little ashamed.

We All Have Secrets

There are two types of secrets: simple secrets and deep, dark secrets.  Simple secrets are those that if they were revealed would not be devastating to anyone who hears them.  These are the secrets that are more personal and often insignificant.  A lot of what makes a simple secret simple is that no one will be affected one way or another if it were to remain a secret.  Say your wife makes you meatloaf every Sunday and you prefer someone else’s recipe to hers.  If you never told her, it wouldn’t matter.  In fact, that’s probably something you might just want to keep to yourself to avoid an argument.

When I originally joined Match.com a few years ago, I didn’t share it with a lot of people.  I thought that as soon as I let others know that I had subscribed to a dating website, I would be ambushed with questions and those awful raised-eyebrows, you’re-trying-online-dating questioning looks.  It was something I decided to keep private, as well as the men I dated because it didn’t matter and wouldn’t affect anyone else.  The only person who cared that I was doing it was me and when I did eventually share the news with family and friends, no one batted an eye.

Then there are the deep, dark secrets, the skeletons-in-the-closet if you will.  These are the ones that will change lives when they are revealed and they are almost always revealed sooner or later.  The longer a person holds on to this type of secret, the harder it will be when the truth finally comes out.  It is emotionally and physically taxing to keep a skeleton in the closet and eventually, one might start to believe the lies they tell others.

Skeleton in the Closet

And this is what is so harmful about the deep, dark secrets.  You are forced to lie, sneak, and deceive to cover your tracks.  Did I tell this person this or did I tell them that?  Keeping deep, dark secrets will eventually blow up in your pretty little face.  People will find out and I guarantee that the act of secret-keeping will be far worse than the secret itself.  The axe that you have been waiting for will fall and you may secretly hope that it comes sooner rather than later.

Though I don’t have any of my own, I have kept deep, dark secrets for other people.  Out of respect for the people involved, I won’t share what they are, but I will explain how it felt when I learned their secrets.  The responses were emotional, ranging from hurt to angry to skeptic depending on the secret, but the worst part was never the truth, it was the fact that details were hidden from me for however long they were.  I felt betrayed. I was lied to, I was denied opportunities I would have jumped at, I lost a little respect.  The thing is, trust is irretrievably lost when you find out that someone has concealed something from you, even if they were trying to protect you.

The truth is the truth, regardless of how you or others feel about it.  Hiding it or pretending it doesn’t exist does not get rid of it.  Some things in life can’t be changed, but it’s what you do with that information that says a lot about who you are.

That being said, I would like to confess something.

For the past year and a half, I have kept this blog, for the most part, to myself, though I did share the site with a select few friends and family members who I thought would enjoy it.  For me, I wasn’t sure what I was doing with this blog and I wanted to protect it before I started sharing it with those I care about.  I worried that people would misinterpret the ideas I was exploring and look at me differently.  I thought they might not like what they read or would criticize my opinions, forcing me to feel like I had to justify what I had written.  However, after eighteen months of casually mentioning ideas I had explored in blog posts, I decided that enough was enough.  I have been encouraged by plenty of friends to invite others to read my posts and after more than 100 articles, I am really proud of what has been accomplished on Defining Wonderland. The time has come and I am ready to let the world know.

Consider it just one less secret I have to keep.

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15 thoughts on “The Secrets That We Keep

  1. Karina says:

    Thanks for the insight Jess. I love you no matter what dark little secrets you have. :p That being said, I agree with you and the whole, “secrets coming back to bite you in the ass” deal. I’ve dealt with that not to long ago. As you well know, I’m an open book and people can judge me, love me, hate me, it’s all good. In turn, friends, family, etc., come to me with their secrets, troubles, etc., and I’m not one to judge. It’s actually a rarity if I do have something judgmental to say about a person in a negative way that makes me dislike them. Which is what happened to me recently. I had a close friend, a best friend actually, that went beyond trusting my non judgment to the point where all their dark secrets were busting out and making me change my perspective of them (and trust me that takes a lot). I was being put between a rock and a hard place (as the saying goes) and realized that, that is one person I just didn’t want to be friends with anymore.The thing is Jessica, don’t get me wrong. I’ll keep your dark, dirty secrets and then some, but when your secrets show me that you are the type of person that would go through such lengths with lies, intrigues, and lack of sincerity, then it makes me wonder what quality of a person you really are. I felt lied to and cheated. Let me explain. This was my friend for over 10 years. I felt hurt to know that I actually never really knew this person in their true form. Did I really want to know them now? Absolutely not. At the end of such situations, which I wouldn’t wish on anyone, you have to make a decision. A decision that is not easy on you or the other person, but at least it’s the right one. Anyways Jess, thanks for opening up and letting me be part of your blog. Love you.
    K

    • Jessica says:

      Thanks for the support, Karina! Like you, I try to live my life as open as possible. Sure, I don’t tell everyone everything, but there is nothing in my life that people would be shocked to find out. I’m sorry to hear about what happened with your friend, but that’s the risk we take when we share our lives with others. They may be accepting or they may not like the person we really are as much as they liked the person we pretended to be. If you remain true to yourself and show people who you really are, chances are, you have nothing to worry about. I’m so glad you took the time to check out my little blog and found something that inspired you to share your thought. Love you bunches and we MUST hang out soon! How about a trip to Santa Cruz to visit our favorite stinker? 😉

  2. theflashcook says:

    I agree that secrets can be destructive. However, sometimes we have a legitimate need to keep a piece of ourselves…for ourselves. I will tell you that I was not secret about my very new blog and sometimes I regret it! I often have family members commenting that things we not the way I describe them or giving me suggestions and a part of me wishes, I could have kept the space for my own. It’s a bit of a balance. That said, even when one makes efforts to be completely honest, sometimes we are not being truthful with ourselves anyway and a secret is formed. One we might not be aware of but that rears its head eventually.

    • Jessica says:

      I’m so sorry sharing your blog with your family was not as positive as you thought it would be. And you are absolutely right, secrets can still form even when we try to be honest. The key is to start with yourself. If you can be truly honest with yourself, the rest will fall into place.

  3. filbio says:

    We all have secrets of things we did, said, heard, seen, or acted upon in our pasts. Sometimes it’s best to just leave them be. As long as it won’t hurt anyone, or ourselves. Secrets can be hurtful though when they come out to the open, so maybe it’s best to be as open about them from the start. Each situation is different I guess.

    Hey, congrats on sticking with the blog and over 100 articles!

    • Jessica says:

      I liken secret revealing to ripping a bandage off a wound. If the secret is small like a scraped knee, revealing it shouldn’t be too bad. However, if the secret is a deep, open gash, you may need stitches to repair the damage once the bandage comes off. It’s a tricky situation and one I don’t envy anyone for being in.

      Thanks for the encouragement, Phil and I will definitely be sticking with the blog!

      • filbio says:

        If you ever need some laughs just go read some of the craziness I post on my blog! At first I did not tell a lot of people, then I revealed it to my friends and family. Part of having a blog is putting yourself out there. Warts and all!

      • Jessica says:

        Absolutely, Phil! Blogging is a very personal, revealing experience and the warts are bound to show. I feel that if people don’t like what they read, they can just stop reading. The choice is theirs.

  4. madein0klahoma says:

    I really needed to see this post today. Thank you. Love your blog, Jessica! I’m glad you’re sharing your blog with more people. They’ll love it just as much as I do, I sure of it. 🙂

  5. melissajanda says:

    My blog is the deep, dark secret I keep. Only my husband, my sister and a friend who moved away and discovered it by mistake know about it. I can’t seem to bring myself to mention it to anyone else. Congrats on 100 posts. Keep blogging and we’ll keep reading 🙂

Don't let me do all the blogging, join in the conversation. Otherwise, I just feel like I'm talking to myself...

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