I recently came across a website called PostSecret. A guy by the name of Frank started encouraging people to write their secrets on a postcard and sending them to him. They could choose to be completely anonymous. Over time, this has grown into a small movement, where Frank has been invited to speak at various places, especially colleges (including my alma mater, though it has been since I graduated). He talks about how he his always amazed at how many people will be willing to get up in front of a crowd of strangers and share their innermost secrets. There's also an online community where people post their cell phone numbers and invite others to text them a secret, to which they will respond with one of their own. Those who have participated often describe the experience as freeing. Frank says, "share your secrets and free yourself to be yourself..."

I'm not the type to be too emotionally touchy-feely. I often reference my self-constructed "emotional wall" that prohibits me from expressing any emotion too severely. It's not fun and there are many times where I wish I knew how to get rid of it. In any case, this idea of sharing dark secrets with people who just hear them and accept them and then share their own is slightly refreshing to me.

I have my fair share of secrets. I suppose we all do. I also think we all think we each have the worst secrets ever. I believe the only thing that gives a secret power is silence. Once a secret has been revealed, whatever power it held dissapates. It is no longer a secret, it no longer has an identity. The other thing is that whether revealed or not, the secret stays true. I suppose keeping a secret quiet is one way for us to pretend it isn't true, and I guess that's what really fuels secret keeping. If we don't talk about it, then it's not really true or not really bad.

But I'm pondering Frank's call to reveal secrets so that we can be our true selves. I struggle with this idea that because I have secrets that I don't share, somehow I'm not authentic. I gather that what he probably really means is that when you don't have the burden of holding on to a secret, you can just... relax. My other question is, do you really have to share a secret to free yourself? Is holding on to secrets really the worst thing? Some secrets have to be told -- many of the secrets I read on PostSecret reference childhood losses of innocence. Those types of secrets have to be shared, but don't some secrets actually strengthen bonds? Like the secrets little girls share with each other about boys they like, or even women who share secrets about how much they hate their relationships.

Secrets can serve greater purposes and sometimes, letting the cat out of the bag may do more harm than good. I think only secrets that start to weigh you down and make your heart heavy need to be told. We all need our secrets... it's what makes us worth getting to know.


Dynamics of Relationships

I have always been able to remember that one definition of dynamic is to stretch, or give because of dynamic climbing ropes. Without a whole lot of background extra (that no one cares about) I used to do a fair share of outdoors stuff, including climbing and rappelling. When you're climbing you want to use a rope that will give a little when you hang from it. There's nothing like falling and being caught by a static rope that doesn't give at all. It hurts.

Same with relationships. They've gotta be dynamic, and we have got to allow them to be that way. Nothing hurts worse, ironically, than expecting static and getting dynamic in a relationship. I don't mean to suggest that we should sit back and take whatever we get in any relationship. Rather, I mean that we have to be open to the changes that relationships naturally go through. They have their ups and downs and in betweens. It's never easy to be comfortable in a situation and then have that situation change on you, but, being aware that change happens, and can be healthy, can help you deal with that.

I thought of this topic while I was perusing some OLD blog entries from a friend of mine. 4 years ago, she and I were getting ready to start college (actually, by this time 4 years ago, we were both knee-deep in our first year...). And in one of her blog entries nearer to when we were all heading off our separate ways, she mentioned that it had begun to dawn on her that things were about to massively change. I also recall the last night my best friend (at the time) and I hung out before I headed off to college (she followed a week later). We hugged each other and in a way that only we could, acknowledged that things most likely wouldn't be the same between us.

It's ironic now because she (the BFF) and I remained close and may have gotten closer in our first two years in college. Now, we're both on completely separate paths in life and I think it shows. On some levels, it's been sad to watch our relationship dwindle a little, but I've had to remind myself that it's important to let relationships go their natural ways. I fought to stay in a relationship that wasn't working (because it was changing and I didn't want to accept that). The result was that for 2 of the 5 years, I was miserable. As much as letting the relationship go it's own course would have been, looking back now, I can say that it most likely was far more painful fighting what happened anyway.

Some of my relationships change on a daily basis and I choose not to focus my time and energy in places where it won't matter. But there are those that are static for a few months or years and then either out of necessity or happenstance, begin to change. I'm trying to learn how to stay sane when sometimes it can feel like nothing is as it was. I look around at who I confide in, these days. Who I call my inner circle and it is so drastically different from just a few months ago. There was a time where that would have freaked me out, but a)I know that there are some people who may have to fade into the background for a myriad of reasons, but they will return to the foreground in due time and b)Change is good and learning how to deal with that change can be an invaluable lesson.


Stop! In the name of love

In a previous post, I talked about whether or not you should tell your friend about his/her significant other cheating. I came to the conclusion that the risk you run in doing that is too great, when you know your friend won't hear you out. Essentially I boiled it down to keeping your friendship vs being right.

I hate one of my friend's boyfriends. We'll call her Liz and him Brad. And ok. I don't hate him, but I do hate the relationship. I won't bore you with details of why, but let's just say they are great for each other in ALL the wrong ways.

So I'm faced with a dilemma. Do I tell her how much I don't like him, and that I can already see where their relationship is headed, or do I shut the heck up, since no one asked me and grin and bear it as she puts up with his crap.

This morning, after dealing with yet another situation yesterday, I had decided to keep quiet. But the longer I think about this, the more I don't know. See, I'm not afraid that she won't believe me. In fact, I know she will. What's important to me, though is that she see what I'm talking about for herself. It's not enough for me to tell her -- she'll never learn the lesson life is trying to teach her -- but I don't want her to get hurt cause this guy is a jerk.

The other thing I realized as I talked to another friend about this and sought her ideas and advice is that some of this for me is about being selfish. When he messes up bad enough that she finally says "ok. I can't do this," it'll be me she calls crying. It'll be me left to pick up the pieces and all that jazz. It might be tomorrow (doubtful) next month (doubtful) or next year (most likely) but that day WILL come (unless this dude shapes up QUICK) and I'll be left holding the bag.

How do you stay quiet and patient with your friend standing in the way of a speeding train?