[ Social Sunday BK ] I Am a Sea of Secrets
I went to an event where the theme was “Secrets” and everyone shared a piece, performed a personal form of art, or candidly spoke about anything that perceived as a secret to them. But before we dove into the night of raw and brave entertainment, we were asked to think about our own secrets, then turn to a stranger next to us and answer the following question to each other:
Do you have a secret or does a secret have you?
Compliantly, I turned to a girl sitting next to me who seemed sweet enough to hear my profoundly personal answer. She looked at me with genuine intent and open ears but for some reason, I had the hardest time answering the question. For some reason, I couldn’t comprehend what that meant. What are my secrets? And how does it overtake me if I don’t control them? But what sort of secrets am I not sharing? While I was trapped by all these consuming questions to myself, this girl was patiently waiting for me to say actual words other than “uh…I don’t know…[nervous laugh]…[awkwardly diverts eye contact]” As if it wasn’t bad enough that her first impression of me was my inability to answer an icebreaker question when all she expected was a quick answer and then head to the bar to get a drink. But I struggled with not knowing where to begin to share what sort of “secrets” I had to someone I didn’t know. I can barely open up to people close to me let alone divulge secrets to a stranger.
“Um, can you go first?”, with the innocent tone of an elementary school child gripped with naivety and shyness. Wow, I am not mentally built for icebreakers.
After a brief, as in-depth of an exchange could go without veering into social awkwardness, I was left with unresolved introspection. Why was it so difficult for me to answer a question about secrets? But more importantly, what are my secrets? I didn’t think I hid much from people because I strive to be as candid as possible with who I am as part of my goal to be more honest with myself and to my world. Yet, I still feel like I keep things in the dark—I just don’t know what.
There are things I know I hold tightly wound inside me because it’s safer and familiar that way. And there are things I’m working on showing into the light because they deserve life. But the discernment between the two are still a blur to me as I’m still learning to figure out the demons I’m ready to address and the ones that will take more time than a 2-minute icebreaker with a stranger to reveal out loud.
"The things that we bury can tell you a lot about who we are. The difference between a garden and graveyard is only what we choose to put in the soil.” - Rudy Francisco
So maybe these secrets do “have me” if I can’t identify what lies in the dark. Maybe they have me in the sense that I know they exist, fully living and breathing in the shadows of my doubts, but maybe that isn’t necessarily a bad thing because I acknowledge their presence and am working bit by bit to expose their truths, on my own time, in my own way.
Maybe some secrets aren’t meant to be found out until I’m ready to learn about them and am ready and willing to share them. That’s perfectly okay with me, too, because it means I’m taking control of what is mine, even if I can’t identify them all. I have secrets and they may have me, but it’s a equally mutual relationship of self-respect and self-love. I am loving myself better in this way.
With my unsatisfied answer to this perfectly nice stranger, I braved the unexpected courage within me fueled by my unresolved energy—and possibly in an attempt to redeem myself—to get up and read my first poem out loud in a room full of strangers. One secret out, many more to go.