Saturday, November 29, 2008

No place for secrets

While it goes much deeper than this, i am a secret keeper. think of how many of your secrets i have held for you all these years. some i probably dont even remember anymore until you remind me. people choose me, in that instinctly way that we choose mates, because i am a secret keeper. some secrets have no real meaning, they aren't harmful or helpless. 10 years later does it matter that we had those 2 extra drinks that were our secret? at this very moment, does it matter that you cheated on your boyfriend, who was three boyfriends ago? no, but in my life, i have held secrets in me that werent my own but have closed me off from knowing things. secrets kept me quiet and smothered me.

secrets keepers have to internalize all that is outside and hold it in. look normal, act perfect. dont giggle. or cry.

as an attorney i took an oath to protect in confidence the discussions between my clients and me. the only time i can break that oath is if that person is in immediate danger of harming themselves or others. i get that. when i left i had 80 active cases. in real terms for me, i had 80 active secrets plus more because of the people they were with or hurt or told. and i was pretty fucking good at it, so good that it was killing me. i talked alot at work. i had to because they were the only people i could talk to. i had no marital privelge and thus no one to share specifics of my work with.

i'm like the bionic woman with secret compartments where i store information. but on the bionic woman doll, her powers were obvious. you knew she could kick your ass.

my powers are not so obvious. but dont underestimate me.

i learned from the best how to compartmentalize my life, i kept the secrets of my homelife secret from my work life. i kept the secrets of my spiritual life secret from everything. and i kept the secrets of my own agony from everybody. i have even kept the secrets of my joy to myself.

before i got here, i always thought secrets were a sign of loyalty. if i kept your secret, you could trust me, love me and you would never leave. but keeping your secrets didnt make you love me anymore, or trust me or in any way endear you to me. but they did keep me quiet. while some of you are gone, i still keep your secrets. the secrets that i know aren't immediately going to harm you. they are systematically going to change the course of your life. my life, her life, his life, their life in the future. theres lots of secrets about you that i know that you dont know i know. and i keep that too. because i thought i was protecting you, protecting us, making us stronger.

keeping someone's secrets is how i got here---to a high blood pressure pill, anxiety pills, antidepressants and a pill for my ulcer. my sleepless nights and tormented dreams. secrets are how i became a bulimic, why i smoked and drank and ate. secrets dont allow for boundaries or self-esteem or even self-protection. either you keep them or you dont.

i'm not talking to you specifically. i'm talking to the universe. because i have secrets of my own that nobody knows about, that i've never said to anyone "i'll tell you but you cant tell anybody," that only i know. they flash through my mind like that caution light by the school. slow down. remember me. dont tell.don't cry. suck it up and be strong.

and its time to give that up. i realized that i cry alot lately. its like mourning every moment of the past where i sucked it up and held strong for you, for your family, for my family, for anybody within a thousand mile radius. in my greatest moments of emotional and physical pain, i have blinked, taken a deep breath and got on with the business of taking care of everybody but myself.

when i was 16 i broke my leg in two places. while i was flying off the steps onto the ground, i made no noise. i didnt cry out or even cry. the only time i cried was when i was worried that i ruined everybody's christmas by inconveniently breaking my leg. secrets. i've gotten lost in what i believed was my loyalty for people. there are secrets i can no longer keep and wont. there are secrets i wont even let you tell me because i cant hear it. there are secrets i've kept even from myself that i have had to admit over and over again in the last two months. there are secrets that i have let go, not to someone else's ear but from my body. i learned early to take everything in and assume its mine, your problems are mine, my problems are mine, your inablity to love must be my fault, your craziness and shame is something i must fix. i took everything personally and to heart. thats what creates the secrets. secrets are like unfinished projects. today i finished one of those projects and put into the universe a secret i've held for a couple of years. its not mine to determine what happens now, it wasnt even mine to hold onto to protect someone who didnt need protecting. i can no longer be quiet. i can no longer be strong for everyone but myself. püéâstm lemlets


Danna Saunders said...

Very powerful. Secrets eat us alive, from the inside out.

Bridget said...

this is a powerful one. as you are a keeper of some of my secrets, and I of yours- let's throw them out to the universe together.

ENBDW said...

okey dokey....see what i never understood was that while i can keep my mouth shut about everybody's secrets, i dont have to "hold" them in. jb's secrets alone are enough to strangle me...i say in honor of our throwing our secrets out to the universe, we need a new lipstick and a beer....???