There’s great power in secrets. They can oppress or free people. They can give us strength or strip it all away. They can give us wings or pin us down.
I recently had the honour of meeting the curator of PostSecret (a site I’ve long been a fan of) and I wish I’d had more time to ask questions. I am obsessed by truths, secrets, and people’s desire to keep certain things hidden but needing to share others to lessen the burden.
Why do we value truth so much, when some truths, when hidden, could never hurt anyone? Truths can cut so deeply. Aren’t some secrets best left resting? Or are we only authentic if we lay bare everything about ourselves?
I am a secret.
I am a poorly kept secret.
I am a secret with knowledge and power.
Forty years ago, I was an unfortunate mistake for two people and a miracle for two others. I suppose there must be some psychological ramifications of knowing that the people who gave me life wanted nothing to do with me, but I’ve stored all my baggage safely in the rafters, so there’s no need to unpack anytime soon. What I know for certain is that my life was infinitely better for having had the life I’ve had.
I have two very loving parents. I had a happy childhood. I was privileged and fortunate and wanted for nothing. Nothing but my own story, my own truths.
I found my birth mother, and a sister, and a first cousin. Somewhere out there I have three half-brothers, and another full sister. Do they know the truth?
My birth father says I don’t exist.
Can we will away our secrets by denying their existence?
I am a secret, but I definitely exist. I am undeniable.
I know where he lives. I know where he works. I know his wife’s name, and his favourite hobby. I know what his mother looks like, and who his siblings are, and why I was given up, and I know the kind of man he is.
I am happy to let him think he’s right, because my life is better being his secret.