We teach our children not to keep secrets because secrets are bad. We acquire friendships so we have someone to tell our secrets to. We pay therapists to listen to our secrets without judgment or reserve. We do all of this because secrets are toxic. They are like a cancer that eat you from the inside out. They start with your soul, and eat their way through your heart, and they continue through your body until they make their way to your mind, and then they eat their way through your thought process until you are incapable of making a rational thought. You can’t close your eyes without seeing that thing that haunts you. You can’t hear a song on the radio without remembering that person who damaged you. You can’t watch the scene from your favorite movie without remembering how inept you are at feeling real love because it’s been stolen from you.
Secrets are the monster under your bed when you’re a child. They are the stranger walking behind you in an empty parking garage late at night as an adult. They are the eerie background music of your horror movie of a life, because at one point in your life someone you trusted put a secret so deeply in your soul that it is tangled and weaved and buried, and nothing and no one can ever remove it. It sits there and festers and blisters and causes nothing but pain and infection. There are periods in your life where a happiness or a moment of forgetfulness almost acts like a momentary antibiotic, and for a brief period you have some relief from that pain. But eventually it always comes back. Throbbing and pulsating and reminding you that you will never be normal. You will never be ok. Because this thing that grows inside you will never, could never, go away. It’s a part of you, like your skin or your hair or your fingernails. You could cut your hair or lose a nail, but inevitably it always grows back. Just like this secret that you are always running from.
It is an unfortunate fate that I happen to share my secret with someone I love. We bond over this pain and this break in trust in a way that no one should. It creates a closeness, and at the same time a distance. Sometimes the beauty you see in a person is so beautiful because it’s actually the deepest pain you can ever see behind someone’s eyes. You are seeing the vulnerability of their soul on the very surface of their being and you don’t even know it. You are laughing with them when they want to cry. You are sharing in a secret that you aren’t even aware of. Take the time to look closely, love deeply, show compassion for those with these unknown secrets, for they need the most love in this world, even though they act like they want it the least.
I have a secret. Maybe you do too. I’ll try to love you despite yours. Can you say you can do the same?