Wednesday, September 9, 2009
The Secrets We Hold
Lately I've thought about all the secrets we hold as humans and they are many. Often times, we do not even own up to the ones that we hold so closely. Yet, they are numerous. Many justify these subconsciously in our minds every day and reinforce them through behaviors, beliefs, rituals and routines. The secrets can range from the more subtle to the extreme, from the almost innocent in appearance to the ones that would make a sensational news story on the nightly news.
In my own life, I've been told some whoppers! The secrets that have been carried down were once referred to me as "skeletons in a closet". I was told that often it is best to leave the skeletons alone because everyone has them. But is it really best to leave the skeletons alone in our closets? Who does that protect or benefit or hurt?
While everyone could make a strong compelling argument that holding on to these secrets is a way of protecting various people in our lives, the same case could be made that these same secrets hurt many more than they protect. We don't often think of that or of the people it may hurt when the secrets are formed. We don't often think of the future ramifications and the distortion of events that will occur with years of continued secrecy. It is as if, we are only trying to protect ourselves or someone close to us at the expense of others around us.
In my life, I have spent many years trying to uncover the hidden secrets in my life and of those around me. I have attempted to remain as an open book as much as I can and yet, I'm sure if I think about it, I have secrets that I have formed. And now, as I try to heal the intricate pieces of my life, there are many that are missing because they are locked up as secrets. Some of the secrets have gone to a grave and some will just never be told.
I can just hear the chatter going on in minds at this moment including, you should just move on, you should just let it go, you should not live in the past and so on and so forth. Those are wonderful statements for people who want to sweep the floor and push the dirt under the rug. However, I am one that would rather sweep the dirt out the front door, just not under the rug.
If you think secrets aren't as bad as I'm suggesting they are, than consider this.
Remember back when the Catholic Priests were being accused of child molestation? Each individual child thought it was just them and them alone. They did not realize anyone else had ever been molested by this person (generally speaking). So if they were ever to tell, in their minds they would question if anyone would ever believe them. However, when they began to expose the secrets, others realized they weren't the only ones and they began to tell their secrets. When the secrets were exposed in unison, it gave validity to what was actually going on. Otherwise, it would have continued to be covered up and allowed to continue.
For me, I was told when my grandmother passed away and I was just a wee little child, she was walking home from the neighbors house across the street and she slipped and died. To a little kid, that may make sense and a child may not be able to reason that this sounds ludicrous. And maybe this was part of the story but when you begin to lay in other facts around that event, you can see that there is probably more to the story. My grandfather was a proud member of the Masons who was an alcoholic. I remember my mom telling me stories of how he would spend more time with his Mason brothers getting drunk and drinking away what little money they had. I also learned that he was a mean drunk where he would hit and abuse his wife and my mom. This continued I believe until the day my grandmother died. Right after her death, my grandfather had an auction to sell off everything he owned and I mean everything. He then took the money and checked himself into a nursing home. Keep in mind, there was nothing wrong with him physically that he needed round the clock care. So he checked himself into the nursing home and laid in a bed hardly ever leaving his room for the remaining 10 years of his life. One could say he didn't take her death well and that could be but when you saw how the family behaved and that no one except my mom went to visit him, than you had to question a lot of things. Even the day he died, there barely was a funeral with anyone present. Again, the secret of how my grandmother died will never be proven for sure but I highly doubt she died because she fell while walking across the street.
Take another example with my older brother. On the night of my highschool prom, my parents received a call and had to travel 90 miles to Des Moines because my brother had just been accused of molesting two little boys that he was babysitting in the family that was giving him a home. I believe the family was either from the same church he went to or the Faith Baptist Bible college in Ankeny, Iowa he was attending. I have no idea what transpired because I was not there but I know that somehow the charges were dropped. Those two little boys had to grow up with the after shocks of what he did to them for the rest of their life while my older brother went free. Of course, if I would have been strong enough to stand up and tell someone, maybe I could have prevented others from being hurt. But it was my secret and the secret was not only belonged to my older brother but to my father as well. And one has to ponder just how many more there are out there that were affected by this secret.
For a long time, I began to go to therapy but I kept it a secret from everyone around me. Those at work were told I had something personal to do and I would try to schedule therapy appointments late in the day. My fear was that if everyone knew, they would think I was crazy and would think there was something wrong with me. It was shame, guilt and a poor self esteem that kept me from talking. It was more though because I had been conditioned to believe that if I exposed the secret, that my life would be in danger as had been proven on many occasions as a kid. As I got closer and closer to talking about some things, my secret came out in full force because even though no one in my family knew where I lived or that I was even seeing a therapist, I was so afraid to talk. I was afraid of the secrets I held. I was afraid of the power the secrets held.
I could go on and on with stories of many secrets. They are so numerous and are bountiful beyond comprehension to most people. As I try to piece things together in my life, to fill in the gaps that the years portray, I am met constantly with many secrets. For me, it is more than just needing to move on and to get over it. For me, so much of my past seems so disjointed. I have many questions as to where I come from, where I lived, how different memories even fit together and those things act as volcanoes in my mind, going off when I least expect them. It is about piecing my life back together where I have very little connected contact to it. Most people are able to talk to friends, family and relatives and reflects upon points in their life. For me, this is virtually non existent. For a long time, I wondered if I was adopted because all I know is the town I was born in and where I am at now in life. The things in between seem to have never existed. They were covered up by the secrets.
Most of my secrets were pretty dramatic but even the less dramatic secrets have an energy all to their own that robs us as being human. They make us less than human because shame, guilt, fear among other things, place a blanket over them. They hide them from our view. They alter us from reality. These secrets continue to not only consume us but perpetuate themselves so that they consume others in our path. Secrets not only affect us but they also impact so many others that we know intimately or we casually meet in our lives.
The purpose for writing all of this is that I hope each person reading it will stop and consider the secrets they hold in their own lives. What ones have you created? What ones were created and forced upon you? What ones do you know about and feel you are the only one?
I hope that you will ask yourselves these hard questions because the more light that can be placed on the secrets to expose them, the more freedom we will have as individuals and as a collective universe. In order to be truly human, secrets can not take up residence in our lives for they are an organism of poison feeding on our mind, body and spirit. May they be found out and may they be exorcised from all that we are. Let the secrets wither and die in the light of truth and knowledge.