I grew up singing the Beatles song, “Do you want to know a secret?”
This was the song of connections. It was the symbol of belonging, being trusted, being loved. It was the epitome of transitioning into adulthood from mere adolescence.
As a mere thirteen year old, I had lots of secrets, but no one to tell them to. To admit your dreams, fears or horrors was to diminish your popularity. Heavy secrets were a ticket to internal isolation. Nice secrets were lame and a sign of weakness. Love secrets were imaginary at best.
No wonder John Lennon and Paul McCarthy asked, “Do you promise not to tell?”
What do we say today? It no longer is considered healthy to keep secrets. In fact, there are academic research papers that are devoted to the physical burden of harbouring secrets. For those of us who have taken on the responsibility to carry that load, we have done so with a cost. Secrets are by definition something we are less than willing to share, largely because we expect negative reaction. The type of secret wages its own cost. It boggles the mind to read some of the research papers as they equate the burden of carrying a secret to temperature, to weight and the variability.
Having just read the book, Goldfinch by Donna Tartt, I was provided the fictional portrayal of living a life of secrets. It was a painstaking description of a young man, who made stereotypical mistakes of a male youth in a world of plenty that then collided with the outcome of a traumatic event. The book depicted the cost of carrying deep secrets that the owner believed could not be shared as he battled with the desire to be youthful and also to be a sincerely good person. The internal conflict was cataclysmic. In real terms, the burden of carrying the secrets equated to the ability to engage in real and meaningful relationships, to carry on trustworthy and calm relationships, the ability to sleep, to avoid addictions and cope with day to day activities. This piece of fiction versus the authority of research may not be so far apart as they seem.
Fortunately, for the vast majority, secrets do not carry that high a cost. Yet, for those who carry them as lifelong secrets, shared primarily or solely with themselves, they will take their toll.
My advice is do not let secrets take ownership of your life. You have your today to live. Find your release. Perhaps you can write it down, place it in a bottle and bury the bottle in the back yard. Let the ground and the bottle take the burden. The secret belongs in the past and tomorrow is not equipped to change the past. Give yourself permission to accept that the past cannot be changed and therefore in the future it loses its relevance. Imagine the contents of the bottle has rotted and floated away on its own and has left you whole.
Do you want to know a secret, oooo ah oo? No, I have willingly forgotten my own.
I wish you peace.