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Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Secrets Can't Keep.

{I originally posted this last week over on BlogHer, and then on Medium, dancing around putting this in my central online space. Then the magnificent Jasmine posted a piece not unsimilar to this and we chatted and her courage sparked mine. So. Here's to honesty and vulnerability. Please be kind.}

There is something to be said for keeping secrets.

It can be intoxicating, to know the things that others don't. To have something safe to your heart that only you know about. The tingle of anticipation of being revealed can provide a rush like no other, to be sure.

But eventually, secrets bear weight. They steal your breath. They hold you rooted in places you no longer want to stand. They make you pick sides. They indebt you, indenture you, enslave you, dehumanize you. You become the secrets and the secrets become you and the two things are irreconcilable without the other to the point you're not sure you ever were without the secrets at all.

And you come to believe that you were only ever the secrets you carry and nothing more.

The secrets become titles, monikers, identifiers. You begin to wear them like scarlet letters on your very skin, across your cheekbones and furrowed brow and that unavoidable dip in your clavicle. You are defiant in the face of the truth-seers and you are convinced you are surrounded by people who can see clearly through your paper-thin coating for what you are, for the things that you carry in your guarded, guilded heart.

You meddle your fear of being known with something akin to righteousness and for one glorious moment or two, you almost have it all under control.

Congratulations, you have accomplished a self-gaslighting unlike any other ever foisted upon you by an outside force or being.

But we both know it cannot, will not last. The weight grows heavier and throws off your inertia. The brazen redness across your face no longer flatters, instead highlights the scars you try to camouflage. The looks of outsiders, unknowers, pierces you, each glance feels persercutory, scathing.

The gaslight extinguishes, revealing a blackness that formed inside of you, and if you're lucky, you'll realize in that bleakest of moments, you have a choice.

The secrets can consume you whole and leave a tarred and sullen shadow of who you once thought you were in your stead to shuffle through this world broken down by a game that was never meant for winning.

Or

You can open your mouth, expel the brewing blackness with a force not unlike exorcism and show who you are underneath all this weight and turmoil and try for once in your godforsaken life to step towards something that looks like decency, like wholeness, like light while remaining unapologetic for the way the secrets will ooze onto everything and everyone you touch -- a putrid Midas tainting his kingdom for a fleeting glimpse of some sort of twisted beauty.

You hope it washes clean, someday, and with it you will finally have a chance of being absolved.

Because hope is all you have left to cling to, once the secrets no longer hold you.


For the sake of these purposes, I will call him Adam. His name is Matt.

And I am the blackness consuming him whole.