A Secret About Secrets

Getting under the skin

“I’m going to tell you something. But you must promise you will not tell anyone,” a friend said to me recently. If it is going to be a secret, why tell me? Especially me. My dear friend, you know I’m a blogger right? How does putting my life out like an open blog convince you I have a high integrity with discretion? *Puzzled*

When people tell you a secret, they are essentially placing their skeletons in your closet; something which then becomes your responsibility to carry. It is a privilege when someone opens up and shares a fact that nobody knows, but when too many friends have too many secrets, it gets heavy. The closet becomes very full. And sometimes, leaks happen.

People talk...I respect people’s right to privacy and very often a time, when friends confide in me, I’ll forget what was being said. This is a guarantee that I won’t be a tattletale. But I’ve seen many incidences when the teller went around telling others the ‘secret’ and when it spreads in the grapevine, the originator holds the first person being told responsible.

The first hearer becomes the teller’s surrogate for shame. Usually, secrets are about something we’re not proud of… a despicable act, or stigmatic occurrences. So when the teller had gone through some time of not accepting or coping with that ‘secret’ well, the person who first heard it from the horse’s mouth would have to bear the brunt of accusation for betrayal when it explodes.

So who’s the victim now?

Is it a big deal?The interesting thing is, people hardly get shocked easily nowadays. So frankly, is the secret a big deal? Yes, sometimes it really is. But most often, it is hardly headline news. Even if it is shocking, someone else will ‘rise up’ and take over soon enough.

Bizarre trappings and people with a life less ordinary are really not uncommon. Sometimes, rather than keep the sh*t we’re going through under wraps, it may be cathartic to share the experience. Someone who’s facing the same situation may gain from it and feel less alone.

But being open about a ‘secret’ acts as a sift that separates the good friends from the fair weather ones. It is not the responsibility of the person you told your secret not to tell others, but your determination to lessen the load of skeletons so the weight is easier for us to bear.

Having thought-out-aloud this much, I hope you can keep the secret that my friend told me a secret. I pray yours is a walk-in closet and not a coffin like mine!


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