For those of us who do, some are dark and private, the kind that need to stay hidden forever. For if we were to reveal them to others, what price would we pay?
But then there is the other kind of secret, a smaller and harmless sort we keep for various reasons. Perhaps we're trying to prevent hurting someone's feelings. Or maybe we don't want others to know something about ourselves for it's just too embarrassing or shameful to disclose. Whatever the reason, a secret is hatched like an egg and kept hidden away in a nest in the back of our mind.
Years ago I hatched a secret from my girlfriend, Debbie. We were about thirteen at the time, in eighth grade, I believe. Debbie was my best friend and I wanted it to stay that way. I didn't have many friends because I was shy, unattractive, and unpopular. Debbie liked me, or seemed to, and that's a precious commodity for a shy, diffident teen trying to survive junior high school. The problem began when Debbie started to get much more popular. I'm not sure what triggered her newfound popularity, but all of a sudden both boys and girls were talking to her, paying attention to her and wanting to spend time with her. That left me in a pretty bad situation. She stopped paying attention to me.
So I panicked. How do I get Debbie to pay attention to me? The other girls were calling her "Keene", some kind of cool nickname derived from her last name. But I didn't call her that. It seemed to be the cool thing to do, but I had never been one who embraces conformity. So I started noticing how she was dressed, how she wore her hair, what kind of handbag she carried, etc. I thought perhaps I would have to change if I wanted her to still like me. But before I could go get my hair cut and buy new clothes, I had to find a way to get her to realize change was coming, without actually revealing what those changes would be. (the mind of a kid here, you see) So I said to Debbie, "I'm plotting against you." In hindsight, this was a really stupid thing to say, but it did peak her curiosity. All along the way, I'd tell her I was getting closer to my goal of plotting against her. I updated my hairstyle, bought new, more fashionable clothes, and purchased the same kind of handbag she carried. I attempted to be more like Debbie just so she would like me. And, possibly, I thought the other kids who liked Debbie would also like me, if I were more like her.
Well, this foolish plan did not work. Debbie, who seemed to drink up the compliments and attention from the popular kids, just gravitated more and more to them. Kathy was left out and abandoned. All that hard work was for nothing. I did not gain the friendship of Debbie's admirers nor did I retain hers.
A few years down the road, Debbie and I restored our friendship, but my secret was never revealed. She would never know I hatched up a plan simply to make her like me and want to be my friend. And if I told her she'd probably laugh and tell me what an idiot I was.
It took me a long time to get it through my head that people have to like you for yourself and if they can't, well so be it. I spent way too much time trying to imitate others, hoping that would make me likable.
So, now that this minor secret has been revealed to my blogging audience, how about you? Any secrets in your closet? Did you ever tell all somewhere down the road?