Here are some secrets nobody knows.
Secrets so crushing she has dared not tell any one for years. Not even herself (how is that possible?).
You see, these secrets might bring her undone. Or they might even bring her back together.
There are so many tiny secrets residing within her ready to escape at any moment. And, one big one. Don’t forget the one big one.
Where is the best place to start sorting them all out? To sift through them and give them a little of her time so she can finally notice that they do indeed exist.
Every time a secret was born she quickly stowed it away into the chasm of her being where it was recklessly abandoned, never to be thought about again.
That was the hope, anyway. But as secrets go, they don’t lie dormant forever.
The big one has found its way back. Over the years it has come knocking to remind her it is still there. Of course, she ignored the knock until it eventually went away. Lately, though, the knock has become more frequent. It has become louder. Almost agitated and desperate.
Her secrets really have stayed that way. Secret. Isn’t that disturbing? Keeping such horrible, painful experiences locked away? Its what she does. Things happen, she stays silent about them. Good, bad, indifferent. No body knows. She just gets on with life as if nothing has happened because she believes her life is nothing. It is nothing to nobody.
Why bother anyone with the petty details of her life? No one cares.
Its thoughts such as those that stop her from sharing her secrets.
They infiltrate her mind every time she thinks about releasing her secrets to another. So she doesn’t.
How could she possibly tell anyone what is going on inside of her? How would they even begin to understand?
Each and every day it is the same old same old. Wake up, get ready, go to work, come home, go to bed. Mundane. Boring. Silent. Alone.
Alone in the silence she hears the knocking. She busies her mind ignoring it as best she can but she can hear it. It has definitely gotten louder. She can feel the intensity of it.
She can’t think about it. This secret. It has to remain that. Only one other person in the whole wide world knows and she wants it to stay that way (Oh, let’s not forget the other 2 people who were involved). Its embarrassing. Its humiliating. Its existence isn’t quite conclusive. Did it even happen? Did she dream it? Her mind is foggy. The pictures of that night are shown to her from a far away projector. The clarity of detail too blurry to make out.
The feeling of it is there, though. The feeling of something being taken away from her. Ripped from her without her permission. Trust gone. Replaced by numbness and stupidity. Moving through life with no sense of what she is doing. A puppet on a string being controlled by an invisible puppeteer.
This feeling took her into more secrets along with a mind that didn’t seem to comprehend all that was happening to her. She moved with a desensitised approach to her own life. Watching from above, screaming at herself to stop but not hearing the screams of torture.
Did this one moment in time really have more power over who she became than she knew? Did the culmination of secrets influence all aspects of her life? Were they her driving force into more and more secrets?
A slippery slope.
Her actions and behaviours reflect this in a translucent way. Evident but not entirely visible to the naked eye.
She already felt as if she was living another’s life. Somebody else inhabiting her body. The young woman she once was was not who she imagined herself to be as a little girl. Her idea of a what a real grown up woman was supposed to be became mislaid. The version she turned out to be strayed too far away from her young girl desires.
Day after day the puppeteer moved her about her life. There seemed to be no mind control coming from her whatsoever. Everything inside of her desensitised. Paralysed. Petrified. A series of misadventures making up the whole of her day.
Believe it or not she liked it that way. She didn’t have to think. She didn’t have to feel. She gave herself over to something outside of herself. That way she could absolve herself of all responsibility. “It wasn’t me”, she’d say. “I have no control over what I do. This is just how I am”.
But inside there was another voice who disagreed. That voice, of course, was ignored.
Parts of her life were quite thrilling. The puppeteer arranging her in places she longed to be. Yet, still, the numbness remained. Occasionally she would feel a twinge. Something pricked her sensitivity. A feeling she gave permission to, if only for a moment or two, before she denied it once more.
What caused this within her? More secrets? Secrets taking up space. Nowhere for them to be released.
People were around her everyday. She lived with them. She was friends with them. She partied with them. She accepted them into her bed. But that was it. Not much more beyond that. Her secrets remained so.
Each new secret born into her being moved her farther and farther away from those people. Physically she was right there but mentally and emotionally she was on another planet. Living with all of her secrets. Hoping desperately to share them with someone. Anyone. She wanted them out of her. They were eating her up from the inside. A slow burn on the woman she was and the woman she really, really wanted to be.
It was her secrets denying her the life she truly longed for. One after the other keeping her away from any semblance of obliterated fun. Where did that part of her go? Who took it from her? Who did she hand it to?
Such an aching inside. Torn between her secrets and her longing. Her needs and desires. Her numbed-up-to-the-eyeballs-self and her real Self. The Self she can feel moving around inside her. The Self she ignores. For she cannot yet comprehend how to listen to the wonderful part of who she is whilst these secrets are alive in her body.
So, they continue to suppress her. Keep her stuck. Quiet. Fragile. Afraid she may crack at any moment and they all come spilling out of her in a cascade of fury and sorrow. For now, though, she holds herself together using sticky tape and glue. An indefinite fix until she figures out what to do.
Til then, it is business as usual. Slap on half a smile and go out into the world as if nothing is wrong. Pretend. Hide behind a wall that is decorated with fake scenery. Turn that side for everyone to see. Look at how pretty this is. How beautiful my world seems. Little do they know the other side of the wall is crumbling. Cracked. Falling apart. The pieces slowly tumbling to the ground out of sight. She’s so busy showing off the pretty side she doesn’t notice what is going on behind her.
Every now and again she catches a glimpse of rubble descending on the pile already there out of the corner of her eye. She ignores it. Like everything else. She, too, is completely (almost) focused on the pretty side. That’s all she wants to see. That’s all anybody wants to see. No on really cares about the parts that are crumbling. They don’t exist. They are too hard to deal with. Too much of a mess. Just leave it and turn their attention away.
That’s why her secrets remain just that. Secret.
She has attempted to reveal her secrets over the years to people she felt she could trust. In moments of closeness and connection. What a mistake that was. She shouldn’t have even bothered. Her experience has taught her that no one cares about any one but themselves. Their problems are more important. Their rubble is bigger than anyone else’s. Worse. More painful. Horrendous. Horrible.
So she shut up. She just shut the fuck up and kept her secrets to herself.
Especially after that night.
Which brings her to where she is at now. Her secrets are bubbling inside of her. She is ready to explode.
Whatever may happen her secrets need to be set free.
If she can’t talk about them with any one else then she will have to open up to herself and be honest with all that is inside of her. However hard that is going to be. It is going to be fucking hard. But, she knows this is the only way forward. The only way she can clear them out of her being. Honesty is what she needs right now. Mostly to be honest with herself about all of the shit she has been holding onto. All the shit she has kept to herself and all the shit she has ignored.
It is time to give them some attention. Acknowledge them all. To get them out of her. To write it all down on paper and see it in all its fucked glory. To see her secrets, one by one, spilling out of her. Laid bare before her. Speaking to her. She can no longer dismiss them.
As she begins to write her heart is tight. Her body is clenched. Her mind is searching for what to say. It has never been a part of who she is to actually observe how she feels about any of what has happened to her over the years. Her feelings have always been locked up tight. Ignored (Yep. She ignored everything).
No more. She can’t do it that way anymore. It was the easy way but it was also the miserable way. It never made her happy to forget her feelings. She felt she had no choice. And, along with her feelings her voice became silent. Still. No breath behind it. Stagnated air moving in and out. She was encapsulated well. All of who she was, who she was supposed to be compressed into a neat little box hidden away safe inside her.
Her hand hovers over the paper as she thinks back to her years gone by. What happened to her? What have her secrets done to her? The pain is unbearable. She wants to run as far away as she possibly can. The easy way. The way she has done for her whole life. She wills her legs to stay put as her pen begins to write.
I hate myself. I utterly and disgustingly hate myself. I have no idea why I am even here on this earth. Why did my parents bring me into this world and then abandon me? Sure they were a part of my life but beyond that they were nothing. They had no clue how to be a good parent. They made it up and messed it up.
I messed up. I messed my up life. I made horrible choices. Choices I believed there was no other option for. And, I stuffed it all inside. Under a pile of gross and disgusting food. My feelings had no chance of survival under all of that. Neither did I.
I was sneaky. With food. I’d eat by myself and gorge myself until I felt sick. And then completely despise myself after. The shame. So much shame. So I did it some more to squash those feelings down. Then again. And again. And again. That was my life. Every single fucking day. Hate. Eat. Shame. Repeat.
Food gave me comfort. The only comfort I was able to find. I mistook it for love. Food loved me when no one else did. Or could. I didn’t know how to love me so food did it for me. A fucked up relationship if ever there was one.
So fucked up I was blind to the fact I was deeply depressed. I find it hard to use that word to describe who I was. Am.
It is just a word, yet it is crammed with every single part of myself. Stuffed with feeling after feeling. Thought after thought. Belief after belief. Turmoil after turmoil. Secret after secret.
Oh, these secrets. How did they get so huge? How did they take over my life?
They infiltrated how I behaved. How I saw myself. What have I become?
I cringe when I think about the person I have become. I’m embarrassed. How did she manage to keep going like that? What an awful, awful person. No wonder I kept her secret. Though, she wasn’t really that secret with her harsh words and bad temper.
Unleashing her bitterness to whoever was nearby. I didn’t know any better. I didn’t know any other way to be. I told people I was fine. I put on a brave face. All the while I was dying inside. Wishing I could stop feeling such hurt and anger.
All my secrets. Well, they aren’t just things that happened to me; they are feelings, thoughts and beliefs. Pieces of me tucked away hidden from the world. Hidden from me. They are the good pieces, too. I took all of my goodness and shoved it deep down inside me so no one could see it. Why did I do that? The good parts had to go whilst the shitty parts stayed to run amok. And, the sad thing about all of that is I really had no idea I could be any different. I truly believed I was going to be stuck like that forever.
I am so sad I wasted too many years of this life not knowing how different I could have been. Was able to be. Everyone wants you to be different but they never tell you how to be different. Perfection is all anyone wants. They don’t look beyond what they see into the depths of a person to understand why they are the way they are. When the expectation isn’t met you are cast aside as broken, not fixable. Left to deteriorate in the pile with all the other broken pieces of shit.
That’s when everything stays secret. If it isn’t about happiness then no one wants to know. Not that I had much happiness. It gradually seeped out of my body and my mind until there was nothing left. With every secret my happiness and joy were replaced with more anger and sadness. So I ate my hate. I ate my anger. I ate my sadness. I ate my way out of all the joy I ever felt.
My light dimmed until there was only a sliver left. Darkness closed me in.
The darkness ruled my life. It took me to places I never imagined I could go. Never wanted to go. There in the darkness shadows began to undulate. The remaining sliver of light reflecting their presence, ensuring I felt each and every secret hiding in their symmetry.
It is hard for me to verbalise the hold this darkness had on me. What it made me do. How it made me behave. I was a terrible person. The hate and the hurt and the anger living in the shadows, striking out into the light whenever the hurt moved through me.
I felt stuck. Stuck in who I was. Not able to shift my position so as to head in the direction I really wanted to go. So, the direction was static. Destructive. Unknowingly. Can you believe that? I was unknowingly destroying my life. It felt like living but more as a dead woman walking because I was living it. Remotely. From a different place. But it was living.
In secret. I was living my life in secret. Not able to communicate to anyone, including myself, about how I was feeling. My emotions were (are) all over the place. The intensity of what was going on inside me prevented me from living up to my own expectations. It kept me small. Scared. Afraid.
Afraid of myself. Afraid of others. Afraid of life. Of truly living. Of truly loving.
I was emotionally removed, as I put my real emotions on pause. Another secret to hold onto. For if I let them out there’s no telling what they would do to me. I couldn’t take the risk.
Which is why the emotions that I should have felt with all that has happened to me were put into a box and locked up tight. Gosh. I really never dealt with anything. I separated myself from what happened and split up each component until all connection was severed. Shoving them all into their own box to remain concealed forever.
I think my secrets have come from being hurt over and over again. By my fucked up parents, by my fucked up self, by the fucked up way I saw myself through others eyes instead of my own, by the fucked up feeling of loneliness, by my fucked up emotions, my fucked up life and the fucked up fat I shared my body with.
All of it. All of it fucked up. I was fucked up. Living in the fucked up darkness of my hurt.
No more. I have to own up to all of it. Every single last bit of fucked up hurt that sustained my secrets. How do I process them all, though? Especially the big one that seems so insignificant and momentous.
Is it really that big of a deal what happened to me that night in Germany? Maybe it’s just another bad thing that happened to me because I deserved it? I was such an awful person so its no wonder something awful happened back to me? The darkness brought in more darkness, and in the light of day there was nothing left to see.
I was young. 24. On holiday in Germany for Oktoberfest. I’d been living in England since the beginning of the year and having a great time (in my own fucked up, dark way) travelling, making new friends and experiencing a whole new world. Then this thing happened. This thing I still am yet to make any sense of. It feels like a lifetime ago. It feels like it happened to somebody else. An out of body experience. I can’t even be sure it happened to me. But I am. I know I was there. I think I rather wish I hadn’t been.
Its so hard to explain the feelings surrounding this thing because there wasn’t any. I was numb. Before this thing happened and after. I lived that way day in and day out for the majority of my life.
How do I talk about it from the perspective of a young woman who was violated, trashed and degraded? Who’s trust was ripped away. Who’s memory is foggy because of what was slipped into my drink. Knowing how my night began yet unable to retrieve any images until the moment I came to, naked and startled, in a tent that was not mine with two men from earlier in the evening, also naked but definitely not startled. They knew exactly what they were doing. Taking the innocence of a young girl.
I became aware of what was happening to me and got up as quickly as I could. Vomiting all over their belongings as I scrambled to get out of there. I don’t remember much after that expect that the friends I was with thought I deliberately went into a tent with two men for a bit of fun. They made a joke about it. I stayed silent. Another secret to be stowed away.
How did they pick me? Did they sense my innocence? Did they conspire together to put something into my drink and then take me (reluctantly) to their tent for a good time? Who’s good time? It certainly wasn’t mine.
The next day was the hardest. My friends thought I was hungover. How do you get so drunk after two beers? I know I only had two beers. I can only guess they gave me a beer with more than just beer in it.
I felt sick. Ashamed. Unsure. With no one I could trust with such a secret, I didn’t utter a word about it. And, that is how it stayed for twenty years.
Writing it down now and thinking about the details again only leaves me feeling detached. I think because I wasn’t able to deal with it then it just became something that happened to me. Something I think about once or twice a year. The feelings I denied myself at the time were not able to anchor themselves to the details. So this thing was only ever a detail. A minor detail in my life. Is that ok? Am I ok with it being that? A part of me is, given I am not very good at dealing with all the shit that happens to me. I compartmentalise and move on. Like it never happened. So not a good way to be.
This really sums up all of my secrets. Numb. Detached. Minor.
Plenty more secrets added to the box after this. One by one. More moments of my life severed and tucked away.
Are the details even important? What of my feelings? How important are they? (VERY).
As she rummaged her mind for more details of her life, for the feelings she locked away, she came to the realisation that her secrets cannot be ignored ever again. This is the beginning. The first step in releasing their power over her. She knows she has to continue the work she has now begun. This is the most important thing she will ever do for herself. It isn’t about finding someone to share her secrets with. Not right now anyway. She must reveal them to herself first. Acknowledge them. Love them. Be with them and give them the attention they deserve, however dark they may be.
Bringing them into the light softens the darkness. The darkness will always be there. It is a part of human nature. But now she controls the light switch. She always did.
She just didn’t know it.