I talk. I talk a lot, about many things, to basically everyone that will listen. It’s how I process my life… this near compulsion to talk about everything and anything while naively trusting that people will have my interests at heart. There are very few secrets of my own, and those that I do have I’ve buried so deep most of them are repressed at this point. Or they become dangerous to my own mental health.
Like the time I was five and pooped my pants at school then lied about it. Obviously, that one’s not repressed. No, instead it’s a festering wound I pick at from time to time when I need to feel flushed with shame and disgusted with myself.
Because when I don’t talk about things, that’s what I do. Assign that memory shame. It has to be shameful, otherwise, I’d be willing to talk about it. Even with people I know will use it against me.
Again, I have this kind of naivety about me. I trust people who prove themselves false because maybe I was the one that was wrong. I’ve ended up in so many toxic friendships because of it.
Fuck, when I was pregnant I was practically vibrating with the need to tell people. I know you’re not supposed to until you’re out of the first trimester in case something goes wrong, but when a good opening occurred to let it slip, I did.
For instance, we were at a friend’s house and I asked my husband to get me a drink. He always says no, and then does, because we’re like that. One of the people there suggested I tell him I’m pregnant. I turned and said, “well, I am…”
It was classic.Our three close friends missed it while the two people we’re only acquainted with goggled.
Seriously, I could live off that memory of perfect timing for months.
So obviously I cannot keep my own secrets. I can keep other people’s though. Most of the time it’s easy. Even juicy gossip doesn’t impact me and I don’t associate shame with it. There’s nothing to pick at. I’m golden.
Until there’s a secret that does impact me. Something I’m not allowed to discuss outside of the select group of people that know. And that’s the boat I’m in right now.
Someone I love- but occasionally do not like- is suffering. This suffering impacts many other people I love and a few I cannot stand. This added layer of conflicting emotions packs on more layers of guilt. I shouldn’t be thinking about how this impacts me, but I am. I am because I’m human and selfish and horrible.
And I cannot talk about it. I cannot use my standard operating procedure for processing information and life events. I can’t. I just… can’t.
I can’t even turn to the people who know for comfort because this impacts them so much more than it impacts me. I feel so guilty for the idea of turning to them even popping into my head, even if it was to dismiss it out of hand.
I can’t unpack that guilt either. IT’s a vicious cycle where even thinking about it makes it so much worse.
So I try to take my mind off things by playing video games or reading, but then I feel guilty because how dare I take my mind off this secret when no one else involved can escape it. I plan a perfect summer for my daughter, knowing that she’s in the dark and this could impact her even more than me. I think about my vacation and want to die because how dare I go to Disney when someone is suffering.
And I don’t know a good way to handle this. I don’t know of a perfect solution. I have no advice for you or for others on how to handle secrets and guilt.
There is no easy way out here. I understand this person’s reasons for keeping their secret. I get their motivation. I respect their decision. But I don’t have to like it.
And fuck me sideways, I really wish I could talk about it.