blogging gobbledygook and such

Secrets

I’m reading The Memory Keeper’s Daughter by Kim Edwards. It’s a book about a family, whose lives are influenced by the father’s secret decision to give away his daughter who has Down’s Syndrome. The mother and son (the siblings are fraternal twins) believed that the girl died during childbirth. The story basically showed how the father’s secret has changed their lives indirectly; the couple drifted apart, the son felt unloved… yet, the father felt he made the right decision by giving his retarded (as referred to in the book) daughter away because of his personal experience with his sick sister, who died after living a short life. He felt he was protecting his wife and son from the heartache of living with an ill child, yet life wasn’t better for that – the effect was quiet and negative and intertwined.

The book showed how secrets can make people close up and drift apart and do things to hurt others because of the wall between them. Personally, I found this book depressing, not to my reading taste at all. (I’m always willing to try a highly rated book to check if it’s worth all its hype.) However, it made me realise how destructive secrets can be.

We all have secrets. We need secrets, to protect ourselves from people who may use the knowledge against us if discovered. But sometimes, we have too many secrets. We keep secrets as if it makes us more powerful, to have knowledge others do not have. We keep secrets because people do not appreciate their worth. We keep secrets because nobody wants to know. We keep secrets because we want to put up a façade of being in control. We keep secrets because we fear vulnerablity, and the hurt that may follow from it.

And yet, these are what walls are made of. Secrets. For every secret you keep to yourself and only to yourself, you are putting up a wall. And when you pile that wall with secrets like cement, you are making a shield, an armour, invisible and impenetrable. People cannot hurt you because the wall is so strong and reliable. But people also cannot connect with you because of the wall.

That’s why sometimes I feel so alone. I don’t mean to have so many secrets. Sometimes, there are things I want to tell someone, but the moment isn’t there. Maybe it was, maybe I couldn’t find it. So I keep it, thinking to save it for another day, another moment, except that it never comes for some reason or other. Another unintentional coat of cement on my wall.

Thankfully blogging has stripped my thick wall to something thinner and less suffocating. I could write about things that bother me, that thrill me, that anger me, that excite me, that sadden me, in the simple hope of making a connection with another person, someone who knows what I mean, who has gone through what I have, who feels the same way as I do.

I don’t have to keep it all in. Secrets are precious, but what’s the point of having all that is precious to me without having someone to share it with? It hurts, when my precious secrets are taken lightly, gems which are treated like mere pebbles, but you know what? I rather be hurt, I rather be wronged, than to have to carry my precious gems like a heavy sackful of burden on my own, constantly worrying about them alone because no one else will – how could anyone, if I keep them to myself? It takes a certain kind of strength to display your vulnerability so freely, knowing that you will be hurt, you will be scarred, but also knowing that you will be touched in the process, touched by angels in the guise of ordinary people, bonded by a little secret.

Comments on: "Secrets" (16)

  1. *tear*

    I have nothing to add… this is probably one of my favorite posts of you in all times.

    sulz: wow… *hugs* you know, it was also semi-inspired by you and someone else, because you told me when you’re feeling depressed you just want to keep by yourself? on one level, i can understand that because i have felt like that before (rarely, but it happens) but at the same time i realise if i just reach out to someone then… maybe it won’t be as bad as i thought. the trick is to find someone you’re comfortable telling things to, of course. πŸ™‚

  2. Good post, and interesting thought. Secrets are like walls yes, but I guess almost everyone chooses to reveal them to that one person you trust. And if that one person betrays you, you never share your secrets.

    sulz: thank you! πŸ™‚ i know that betrayal hurts, but putting up thicker walls doesn’t help. it either makes you totally impenetrable, or you are playing bigger stakes when you find someone special to reveal it to, knowing that that same betrayal could happen again, and this time it would be worse because you have so many more secrets…

  3. hmm…. I guess I’m a much darker person than you are when it comes to reading books, I loved The Memory’s Keepers Daughter. I agree with you about secrets and destructive they are, but I also believe that secrets are just another part of human nature. And that it takes great courage to reveal a secret.

    sulz: of course we have secrets, everybody has them whether they know it or not. i guess it becomes all-consuming when you keep it all to yourself… feeling repressed without even realising it, that’s what secrets can do. and yes, it can be very hard to let go of a secret, thinking of the hurt and rejection… but isn’t it true when we read how some people find relief in revealing a secret, even if it wasn’t accepted well?

    actually, the book was good. just not much to my taste. what’s to my taste? watch enchanted the movie – that’s pretty much it! πŸ˜€

  4. I have a slightly different view of secrets. I don’t think it’s keeping a secret that’s necessarily bad; it’s the intent, whether you’re keeping it to yourself for the right reasons. If you’re keeping a secret to protect yourself or someone close to you, then the secret won’t consume you… in that case it’s almost noble to keep your silence. But if you’re keeping a secret because you’re afraid of what people will think or because you don’t know how to tell someone, or especially because you enjoy the power, then that secret becomes larger than you. That kind of secret only brings unhappiness and pain.

    I’m a private person so I keep things to myself. Does that mean I’m keeping secrets, though? I’m not sure. I think the word “secret” implies that it’s something others have a right or an interest to know; you’re keeping something from them that you shouldn’t really be keeping. But I don’t think anyone has a “right” to know anything, particularly if it doesn’t involve them. Say I’m secretly in love with a married woman (I’m not, just an example!); I know it will never go anywhere but I can’t help how I feel. Why is it wrong for me to keep that secret? Revealing it to someone (even if I trust them) will only bring me pain as it’s something I’m ashamed of. That kind of secret builds a wall or forms an armour, yes, but it’s not necessarily a bad one. It’s a wall of necessity and just because we could share it with someone, even someone we love, doesn’t mean we have to. In that case the secret works to our advantage and revealing it would hurt more than keeping it.

    On the other hand, you’re right, revealing things about ourselves is very empowering and can be a good thing too. Taking the risk and knowing you can share in something larger than yourself is a great way to heal or not feel so alone… I suppose that’s why blogs have become so popular, because you can reveal as much or as little as you want to without judgement. Post Secret would be a perfect example of that… interesting post, sulz. Lots to think about. πŸ˜‰

    sulz: i didn’t explore many aspects about secrets; your point about intent shows that. and you do have good points about secrets. i have many myself, some i want to tell you guys but i can’t because it involves other people (maybe in the future), some i just want to keep to myself, like delicious little chocolate tarts. πŸ˜› i just wonder if sometimes we have too many chocolate tarts, and that there are some which we could share, should share, to connect and heal, or find whatever release we can from sharing it. πŸ™‚

    yes, i believe blogging hasn’t just made me new friends, but helped me grow as a person… now all i need from it is to find a nice guy. :mrgreen:

  5. Beautiful. I am in awe.

    You are a very wise person, and you have given me a lot to think about.

    sulz: wow, thanks for that amazing comment!

    i’m not wise (i’m really naive in many way)… well, maybe it appears intermittently. πŸ˜›

  6. lovelyloey said:

    Well, secrets aren’t secrets unless you hide them.
    We can’t live hiding everything, but we can’t live hiding nothing. That’d just be bland and like an open book on calculus, everything is to be taken literal; there is no personal context involved whereby in order to understand you, I’d have to know a certain bit about you. When we hide things, we are like poetry, because you can never truly understand poetry unless you know about the personal life of the poet. What we say, what we do, the decisions we take in life is predicated on what we hide, not we don’t hide.

    sulz: that’s an interesting perspective! i don’t deny that it makes it more special that in order to know you, i have to know your little ‘secrets’ – that is, knowledge which are not necessarily easily available to just any stranger. but i also think there is a uniqueness about being an open book; it may not be bland! i think there are some things which are best left out in the open. for instance, if celebrities are more up front about their skeletons in their closet, maybe paparazzi wouldn’t be as obsessed about hounding them. it might make them seem more bland, as you said! πŸ˜€ which, in this context, would be a good thing because you’d want to live your life without being hounded as a celebrity.

  7. It seems that different ones of us choose to share different parts of our lives. Blogging is a great way to share the parts that are important without those nagging personal details getting in the way. I believe we are so much more than our bodies; our physical selves; so that even if we choose to put up pictures, or disclose certain facts about ourselves, in the end we are still interacting with the two-dimensional computer screen. In some ways, this is LESS secretive than meeting someone in person, because there I have to filter and screen out all my preconceived notions about, for instance, what your physical self represents to me. I’ll notice your physical self first, so who you really are behind all that is kept secret from me until I get to know you really well. With blogging, you say to me :”This is who I am, and this, and this…,” and if I engage with you on that level, I get to know the best parts of you, I think.
    Also, I don’t know that we need to keep secrets to protect ourselves per se, it’s our expectations from others that make us feel unprotected. If we’re hurt by someone, it’s because we’re feeling vulnerable in some way, and there are things we can do to heal and strengthen our personal vulnerability so that it doesn’t really matter what “facts” people know.
    Given all that, I kind of think backwards about why I keep my name and certain personal details out of my blog. It’s not so much that I’m worried bloggers will find me, and maybe stalk me or something—I’ve pretty much gathered a great group of supportive friends around me here (like you, sulz!), but I’d rather that most of my family not read my blog. I feel that I’m very real, and very “me” on my blog, but my family has known me all my life through all my transitions. They might say something like “Oh, yeah, you have all these lofty ideas, now, but I remember when you lost your underwear when you were four!” (Don’t ask, long story.) πŸ˜• Or, they only see me through the filter of when I was a child, or a teenager, or a young adult, and can’t recognize the person I am today. This is OK, when I see them, but I just feel so much more “Me” here in bloggieland; more in the Now. So in a way, my family, and long-time family friends know Too Much about me. With them, it’s often like re-hashing old scripts. The relationships here are purer; more authentic.
    Well, you sure got me thinking, sulz. Went off on a bit of a tangent, so forgive me for that, but you’ve certainly provoked me to look at some things. Very good, thank you. πŸ˜‰

    sulz: no, thank you! you’ve provided a whole different perspective, which i obviously didn’t cover. i was focusing on the aspect of how some secrets can consume us by the very fact we choose to hide it. i very much agree on the sharing yourself as a person on your blog bit. i think for every person we meet, and know, we can only glimpse a few sides of them. imagine if bloggers meet each other – the dimension of their relationship changes significantly.

    you lost your underwear? πŸ˜• damn, you must have had real tiny ones. :mrgreen:

  8. I have known people that faced the choices of down syndrome children. I only knew one that gave the child up. She was a former coworker and it was a difficult decision for her. I have not seen her in years and I hope she never regrets the decision but I do know the decision was tearing her up from the few casual conversations we had at that time.

    Well if possible to build walls from secrets I probably could build my own Great Wall of China. I think your post was introspective and displayed maturity. I also agree with those that said there is wisdom in your post. I think that you have shown that you can use your blog not just for the fun things you like, but also as a way to remove some of the silent stress of life–> such as when you wish to go ballistic but instead choose to hold your tongue. And while secrets do offer you a wall of protection once the secret-wall is breeched the wall must be patched or forever dealt with. None of the options are easy to do.

    sulz: i can’t imagine having a child with down’s syndrome, and i can’t imagine giving the child away, so i can’t imagine the difficulty of her decision and her pain of making that decision… i’m the sort of person who after making a decision, if it’s wrong, i just learn to live with it; i wouldn’t try to make things right. so in a way i understood why the father in the book chose to keep the secret, even though he knew it was what that’s tearing his family apart…

    thank you for the really nice compliment. πŸ™‚ as you said, i do use my blog as a way of release, of stress and secrets alike. and yes, sharing your secrets is never easy to do, because so much is at stake. i still have secrets to tell, and hopefully some will surface on my blog, for release and to connect.

  9. This is a stellar post. πŸ™‚

    sulz: wow… wow, thank you for such a wonderful compliment! coming from you, that says a lot. πŸ™‚

  10. Which is why I make no secret that I’m going to rule the world, and everyone is going to be my slave! [No not you Sulz, you’re my Neon Knight!] πŸ˜†

    And yet, these are what walls are made of. Secrets. For every secret you keep to yourself and only to yourself, you are putting up a wall.
    Another Brick In The Wall? You’ve brought forth the urge to make me go and listen to The Wall. Bye! πŸ˜€

    sulz: haha, you bloody joker! πŸ˜€

    that’s a cool song. and hey… leave those kids alone. πŸ˜‰

  11. haha, you bloody joker
    Where am I leaking blood? πŸ˜†

    Sorry but for the past two months I’ve not had the heart for some serious commenting. I’m regaining the appetite but yeah, this is me for now. πŸ™‚

    Hey Ms. Sulz, leave them kids alone! 8)

    sulz: i don’t think that day is coming anytime soon! as far as i know, there’s only one kid in this room, and it isn’t me. πŸ˜›

  12. I read it somewhere that humans are like onions. We have layers to our personalities. Some might be able to peel us and reach the root while some might never go past the upper layer. I believe that there are some secrets which one can’t share with anybody. They are yours and yours only. I know it builds a wall but the wall is not of the same shape and size for everyone. For some it might be paper thin while for some it might be like the Great Wall of China.
    I think its our chemistry with people and the depth of our relationships which define the width and the height of the wall of secrets.
    p.s. I have read this book. I loved it. Its one of my favourites. πŸ˜€

    sulz: i do agree we have secrets we can’t share with anybody; i have some myself for sure. i was wondering if we are keeping too many secrets to ourselves; things that wouldn’t stay secret if someone asked the right question or if we are more open about ourselves. some people keep so many secrets in order to project an image that is unshakeable and as if nothing ever fazes him or her. there are those who keep secrets not just from strangers, but from people closest to them. and that’s sad, because the people closest would have wanted very much to know about these secrets. and if we learn to be more open about ourselves with other people, there wouldn’t be any need for secrets. like if the husband in the book didn’t lie about giving away his daughter, things would have been so different than the life his family had lived. (it’s a good plot, but much too depressing for me!)

    well, that is how i like to look at it. πŸ™‚

  13. […] Recently, I wrote a post about secrets and how keeping them can consume you, suffocate you. Well, I have one right now and even though I […]

  14. Beautiful post.Its so hard to find one person who can handle the secrets we want to share..one who wont treat them as “mere pebbles”..one who will understand and not it spoil the present and future…But then there are some which can or must never be told..just have to go with us to the grave.

    sulz: thank you. πŸ™‚ i know, i’m searching for one who thinks of my secrets as gems too. i guess in my case, there are not so much secrets as things i want to share with someone i love, but are made unintentional secrets by holding them back from people i do not feel would appreciate such secrets. that weighs me down sometimes, to think i may never find someone to confide all that in…

    as for secrets to take to the grave, i have a few too. we all have at least one, for sure!

  15. Very well written . You touched the unforbidden topic . It really left me thinking about the secrets of my life , but thankfully I have my elder sister with whom I can share my secrets so I don’t have to build up the wall of secrets around me. And now thanks to blogging , I have become much more interactive and I am now able to express even my hidden emotions through words πŸ˜€

    sulz: wow, thank you! πŸ™‚ yes, you are lucky that you are close to your sister and are able to share with her things that can bring you down if not shared. oh yes, blogging rocks! even if we have no secrets to spill in our blogs, it definitely makes up open up more because we socialise more, and because of this whole anonymous / pseudonymous element, we are more likely to disclose more than we would in person.

  16. well surely i am in the process of disclosing a lot about my past ….just check out my new post …..hope you enjoy it πŸ˜€

    sulz: great way to talk about your past! πŸ™‚

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