Can you keep a secret?
I don't always like it ... Secrets can be heavy, weighing on your mind, sometimes your heart, especially when someone asks you to help them carry a secret full of pain, but then forgets to let you know when everything is fine and dandy again so you can toss it aside like they already did a week ago or so ("oops, didn't I tell you?") while you've been left carrying this festering thing that's growing larger and getting heavier by the minute as it feeds on your concern and worry about them...
Ahem. Sorry. What I learned from that experience was that it's okay to tell Tom about things that weigh on my heart so heavily ...
But, oh man, if I weren't such a sealed vault, the stories I could tell! Talk about a top blog and bestselling memoir!
However, I've read blog posts and memoirs that made me cringe in embarrassment for the (ex?)friends and family members of the author. Sure, it made for exciting, titillating reading, but at what price?
I'd rather risk obscurity as a writer than hurt (or lose) my family and friends by sharing stories that also belong to them and that they aren't as keen on sharing.
I'm pretty much an open book - but I realize I'm kind of weird that way.
But even if we're 'open books' about our own lives, we're still full of secrets, aren't we? If we're married, have children, belong to a family, have friends ... if we've shared experiences or opened our hearts to others, or allowed others to open their hearts to us ... we have a collection that's sacred and valuable, and the care we give to that collection is an indication of our character.
I'm walking a fine line as I write my great-great grandfather's story, a story that at one time was a family secret, so secret that my grandmother and her siblings were only aware of scandalous bits and pieces.
But it was his story, after all; he chose to tell it all those years ago, and now it's part of the public domain. But I still feel protective of it, as if it were still a family secret, and so I'm driven to fill in the gaps, to make sure the points he was trying to make in the telling are what get heard before anyone else gets their hands on it and twists them around. I can feel my grandmother and her mother, her father, her grandmother and grandfather and aunts and uncles, all keeping an eye on what I write. I can feel the weight of the secrets and the responsibility of what to share and what to keep in the vault.
It's pretty heavy. But the good thing is I'm not carrying it alone - I have other family members who help carry the weight of those secrets, and who will help me decide what stays in the vault.
And that's why I don't mind when others share their secrets with me, and why I'm so grateful for the friends I have who I know will seal up anything I share with them in confidence in their vaults. It lightens the loads. And that's what friends and family are for, isn't it?
"My whole silence is full of prayer."
This is my contribution to the very first ever Prompt Me! Wednesday, hosted by Jillsy, where (in her words) "...one prompt produces free flowing expression from blog to blog... any medium is excepted - words, music, photography, or anything your creativity stirs up! However the prompt moves you, go with it! There will be no wrongs or rights... "
Click on the badge below to go to Jillsy's blog and find out how to join in the fun or to see the other contributions.