Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Shhh...

I like Green Day.

I really liked Crystal Pepsi. And Velveeta. I claim to be a foodie, but I love a slice of cold Velveeta.

I like video games, I love going to the movies by myself, and I sing along to my iPod on road trips. Sometimes I turn the volume down a little to see how I sound. I don't care if the car beside me can see it - if they laugh, then I've made somebody smile. Go me.

I love little more than sitting on the sofa with a Jack and Coke in hand, a bowl of chips with some salsa in front of me and a set of Battlestae Galactica DVD's.
Sometimes I rock out to the Statler Brothers. I haven't quit smoking yet because I still enjoy smoking. I used to groan when Eric wanted to watch his soaps, but I got into a few of them. Actually, I started looking forward to a few of them. Even now I'll check the covers of the soap magazines while I'm in line at the supermarket just to see what's going on.

Yes, I have secrets, and the above are a few I don't mind sharing. Everybody has secrets. It's a part of life, a fact of the human condition. But when recently I discovered a blog entitled "Everyone Blogs," I had decidedly mixed feelings. This is a blog where, essentially, anonymous contributors publish secrets. Sometimes they're confessions, sometimes they're venting, sometimes they're lashing out. But nearly all of them have one thing in common - they're depressing as hell.

I read one or two entries, deciding that I would rather file this one away as a sad place to discuss sad situations. But I found it addictive, in that guilty way that one watches an automobile accident from the side of the road (and later lambastes the "rubberneckers). I found I could relate all too well to a few of these anonymous bloggers, and they reminded me of things I'd rather not think about, situations not entirely alien to me. I actually almost cried once, one post seemed so familiar. That was when I stopped reading and went on to view something else.

But later on I realized something - this is what writing is supposed to do. It's supposed to speak to us, not just on the surface but to those aspects of ourselves we'd rather not think about. It's supposed to lay all these troubles out, on the table for us to relish, to ponder. Good writing does this in the guise of characters, takes unsightly character flaws and paints them eloquently onto a canvass for you to look at long enough to not turn away when you realize you're staring into a mirror.

The writers on this blog were blogging anonymously, but they were still brave - brave enough to bring these secrets to the surface for others to see. They know that once something has been said it can't be unsaid, that once something has been seen, it can't be unseen. I suppose this is healthy - it's a way of dealing with these issues, a way of acknowledging the stigma of their mistakes without attaching the stigma to their person.

Partly I want to see a positive entry - and there are a few, though they usually involve sex. I suppose that is just another facet of the human condition, and an area of peoples' lives they don't feel comfortable sharing with everyone in an open fashion.

In this, maybe this blog is a healthy outlet for some. But there's another side to it. I like my secrets. I like having parts of myself that are mine, and mine alone. They're secrets because I keep them that way. Once I tell someone a secret, it's no longer a secret. Yes, there are some people I share some secrets with, and other people I share other secrets with. But, I know of no one in my life, past or present, that has been privy to absolutely everything. And I'm very comfortable with that. In fact, it makes me feel safe, guarded. Maybe one day I'll let the entire guard down for one person, but then - I think having these things inside of me makes me in part who I am.

So what are the reasons people keep secrets? They may be afraid of changing others' perceptions of them, but this is innately odd, since no one really knows what others' perceptions of them are. There's the protection of those around them from experiencing some negative emotions they'd rather no one else face, but that just assumes the other party is empathetic. Some people are far more empathetic than they're given credit for, and others far, far less. There's really no way to know, not really. Some people keep secrets for selfish reasons, the need to have that last bargaining chip in their back pocket. Some secrets are kept because of a promise made, to a brave soul who let one out in an act of honesty and trust.

Why do I keep mine? Again, quite simply - I like them. I like having them. I keep others' secrets as closely as I keep my own. Maybe this is selfish - in some respects it is. Are any of my secrets kept due to the reasons in the above paragraph? Maybe one or two. But if I told you that, then I might as well tell you everything, right?

But I'm not. My friends, my family, trust that I am who I say I am - and they're right to do so. One does not need to examine every piece of a puzzle to determine the picture. And as long as there isn't a completely different picture beneath the puzzle, one in which people can see through the missing pieces, then you are doing nothing wrong.

Here are a few more secrets. I'm putting them here because if I'm going to tell any secrets, it's these - and I'm going to do it with my face plastered on my profile picture.

Sometimes baking and cooking is pure therapy for me. Sometimes I do it to please people. I love pleasing people for several reasons - one is that I was picked on mercilessly as a small child, and crave the acceptance. Don't feel sorry for me - I don't. Just enjoy that cake, or be glad I've helped you out in some task or another. I spent much of my life turning myself into a freak - in this I gave people something to pick on, I claimed the freak for myself. I knew I was gay by the time my hair turned purple, and it was easier for me to be picked on for that reason - because I did it on purpose. I relished being different, or being different would have made me a hermit. I'm attracted to men, and pretty much only men, but I was in love with a woman once. Sometimes I'm afraid to tell my family that, or they might have false hope that I'll end up with a woman. Sometimes it hurts to know that is how some people in my family would rather see me - with a woman, or with no one at all - though they'd never tell me that, and I know ultimately they want me to be happy. Most of them don't care how I go about doing that. Sometimes I still hate myself a little for being gay, but I'm getting over it.

Okay, enough of that. And let me tell you that none of those things are complaints. They're not pleas for help. They are what they are. I am who I am. And secrets are a part of that. If you want to hear somebody whine, check out the above blog. Me, I'm done with whining, I have been for some time. But those are the secrets I want to share, and have no problem sharing. Maybe I'll vent a few more here and there, from time to time, but not all at once.

As my coworker and friend said to me in her first week, "I'm just acting normal so you won't think I'm completely out there. I like to dole out the crazy over time."

This was when I knew we'd be friends.

4 comments:

Mandy said...

I, being your sister, don't find any of those things "secrets". They are things I know about you, because I KNOW you. I know you in some ways, better than I know myself. You and I have not always been as close as we are now, however, when the chips were down we could always, always count on one another.

There are things we never have to say to each other, secrets we perhaps keep to ourselves, not wanting to say some things out loud for fear of making them real. We know the other one is aware of what is not being said, and somehow, acknowledge it without ever discussing it.

I, also, only care about your happiness. I want to see you with children, because I know this is something you desire more every day. I want to see you settled and happy with the man of your dreams. I want you to find the happiness and security you deserve more than anyone I know.

Will Shealy said...

I am so lucky to have you as my sister, and proud to call you my friend. Here's to finally being in the same city, and making up for lost time. Love you sis.

Evil Twin's Wife said...

The Evil Twin and I share a lot, but even at that, I know I don't tell him *every* little thing in my life and I'm sure he keeps some things to himself as well. Great post!

VoteAudrey said...

Enjoyed reading this post, although I imagine it was somewhat difficult to write. I try to be "authenticate," and "transparent," to the extent that makes sense. The blog you mentioned reminded me of a Twitter account with the same mission. (You sent a private message to the account holder who then publicly sent it out as the messenger, while you retain anonymity) Quite compelling groupings of 140 characters or less. Lately I've been avoiding writing because it's what I know I should do. Instead, I speak through short musings on Twitter and quirky digital collages. Yeah, I'm my own brand of weird and I endorse this message.