Are You Carrying Secrets?


As a child, when you first begin to carry secrets, you hold them externally, like a package of eggs, always conscious that you mustn’t drop them. Sometimes you forget that you have them, but if the conversation heads in a certain direction, you panic, check to see that none are cracked, and become once again painfully aware of your charge.

Later you internalize the secrets. If you brood over them too much, they may hatch and breed.

By adulthood, most of the eggs have cracked, been dropped, or lobbed at someone. It can take a lifetime to clean up the mess.

I remember a story on NPR’s “This American Life” about a choice of superpowers, either invisibility or the ability to fly. One woman said emphatically that everyone, if they were honest, would want to be invisible so they could spy on others. She obviously had never been privy to very many secrets. I have heard enough, carried enough, and still carry some that I wish I didn’t have to.

So now I blog. And what are most personal blogs but a whispering of secrets.

4 thoughts on “Are You Carrying Secrets?

  1. I agree with you – I’m old enough and experienced enough to know that I don’t want to know. I am immensely curious, but it’s true that you can’t unsee something you’ve seen. I don’t want someone else’s secrets to alter my view of them or another person. Now, on the selfish side of it, I also don’t want to add drama to my life. I want to help people if I can, but I don’t want drama or upset. I associate secrets with drama and upset.

    Now that I say that, I’m thinking that maybe I haven’t had enough good secrets in my life. I had a good one once, when my best friend’s boyfriend was going to propose. That’s the kind of secret that I don’t mind. You know what, though? It was a secret I carried like you described a child would – it felt like that, like it was outside of me and on the verge of being exposed at any moment. Luckily I didn’t have to keep it long :).

    I love your line about lobbing a secret at someone. I think I’ve done that before, when I was a teenager. Not a nice thing.

    • Like you, I think that there are sweet secrets (e.g., a proposal, a birthday surprise) that we share with a family member or friend. But those ones have a shelf life. And when the truth is finally spoken, there is joy and celebration. The other kind are much more difficult to carry. And while some need to see the light of day to bring healing to us or others, some of them truly are destructive. It’s difficult – I love the idea of transparency, and yet I have secrets that I’m pretty sure I’ll carry to the grave.

  2. interestingly, today I wrote about secrets … there was a time I didn’t believe in secrets, then there was a time I didn’t believe in uncovering secrets, and now I seem to be at a place where I not only believe in secrets, but I will also probably carry some of them to the grave.

    which is probably where they belong. dead and buried.

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