Secrets: Looking Back
I wrote down my secrets.
It was a simple exercise. We're working on a Footnote episode on secrets, and I thought it'd be a good way to get off the sideline and into the game. I made a few rules for the game.
1. Only one other person can know the secret.
2. Write full names and specific details.
3. The secret has to be primarily about me. (No gossip.)
So I start writing my secrets. Every one I can think of. Harder than I thought, that.
There are not many, not anymore. Buddha said that three things cannot long remain hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth. And he was right. There are things I would have liked to remain secret that have surfaced like dead fish in a lake. Or a germinating seed. The secrets I have left, those I have to keep an eye on. The truth has a way of getting away from you.
But a few secrets I've managed to hold under. And releasing them now, with a sharpie and a notebook, turns me into a red mess, tugging at my collar and shuffling my feet. Revealing secrets, even to myself, feels like opening my eyes for the first time. The light's too bright, I squint my eyes shut, try to scratch out the words I've just written, scrawl out my admissions, and then - with a force of will I didn't know I had - let the truth dry on the page, under the lamplight.
I want badly for my secrets to be something separate from me - little animals I can drown in the lake. But they are me, they're who I am. And shoving them down under the surface is only me holding my own head underwater, choking off parts of my soul. And this is what keeping secrets does - splinters, stifles, divides and smothers, making me a shallow version of me - the version I find acceptable.
And God, what does he think then? When he sees his creation sawing himself to pieces, hiding the seedy parts? Is he saddened that things have gone so far wrong that we can't even acknowledge all of who we are?
Or is he sadder that we're playing the role of creator. Trying to make a newer, better reality than the one he's given us? I have never seen a great deal good done through the keeping of a secret, ever. But the truth, even an unpleasant one, that is another thing altogether.