Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Subtle Digestion of a Secret

     I have come to the conclusion that secrets kill.  I kept the secret about my past (although you'd never know it now, the way I blab about it), and that made me feel dirty and unworthy, as if what happened in my childhood was my fault.  My mother kept the secret of our home life because of a fear of being judged unworthy.  That secret made her more unworthy than ever and all but destroyed her kids.  She hid her alcoholism and other addictions, and that just made them grow larger, like black mold in a dark, damp place.  My father kept the secret that he was capable of being hurt.  That made him a monster with a grudge, unable to express himself in any other way but violence and sex.  We all paid bitterly for his secrets.  My daughter hid her own misery from me, wanting to spare me pain, and that almost led to her suicide.  My son hid his addictions even after he overdosed and almost died. Secrets kill. 
     In my opinion, it's much better to be open.  Even if people reject you because of it, it's better to know than not know who your friends are.  Keeping a secret about yourself, something you're ashamed of, only makes it worse.  When you do that, the only audience you have is yourself, and an insecure person is a tough crowd.  Shame, blame and brooding self-hatred flourish in such an environment.  Cockroach emotions and creepy crawly doubt spread like wildfire, until it feels like every cell in your body is mobilized to hate, and hate only.  Self cannibalism.  You devour yourself from the inside out and nobody has a clue that a vicious feast is going on at all...because you keep that a secret too.  So open your mouth and tell.  Turn around, face the pile of shit that's been breeding in your mind and eat it.  Devour it instead of yourself.  There's a subtle change that occurs once a person starts gnawing away at their own terrible memories.  The mind digests too, just like our intestines, and what passes through as waste is then recognized as waste.  Something to be disposed of instead of clung to.  You're an addict?  Tell, and get some help.  You're a victim of incest?  Tell and let them help.  You're a battered wife?  Be careful what you're teaching your children by example.  If you can't leave for yourself, leave for them.  If you don't have kids, tell for all the ones who'll come after because nobody opened their mouths and pointed out how unacceptable a fist to the face really is.  The whole Catholic idea of confessing sins is not without merit.  Cleaning house.  Throwing out guilt and shame, angst and humiliation, rage and revenge.  They're all garbage.  They have no proper place in your head or heart.  They are heavy, thick and rancid secrets, rotten apples in the barrel.  Don't let them consume you.  Secrets kill.  Open yourself, be brave, be inspirational.  It's common knowledge now, that when you get a deep cut, you clean it and put a bandage on it or it won't heal properly.  However, we're in the Dark Ages in regards to being open about ourselves.  Misguided family loyalty, shame at our own dirtiness, whatever.  It's all garbage, that mode of thinking.  I did it all for decades and now I don't.  It's as simple as that.  The biggest surprise of all is how indescribably heavy those secrets were.  Like Jacob Marley's chains and cash boxes from Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, I dragged those damn secrets around wherever I went.  I was never free of them, and they colored every decision I ever made with their sepia tint of crap.  Everything is different now.  I still have a load of chains but far less than I did before, and I feel light as air.  Even able to scamper a bit.  Let go of your own miserable shackles, my friends.  Give a hop, skip and a jump and snap the bonds.  Be free.

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