Truth is the opposite of a secret. That’s my working definition for now.
We’ve had many foster children through our home. Lynn* became adept at lying because she believed her own lies. She had told herself the story with her own slant and thoroughly believed it.
Nathan* had a PhD in deception. Even when cornered with all the facts and two witnesses, he would swear that everyone else had their facts wrong.
Fear of telling the truth, you say? In both cases I think they kept secrets from themselves. They could not face the truth about any situation. So they made their own truth and they kept the truth secret for as long as possible.
Secrets are truths we keep from being exposed. We guard them, conceal them, hide them. The truth is, for some reason, more difficult to face than keeping it secret. There are secrets we keep from acquaintances and others we keep from those closest to us. And there are secrets we keep even from ourselves.
Keeping secrets can be a positive thing. Many times I’ve been told something in confidence. Hint: if you tell even one person, it is no longer a secret.
Usually secrets benefit only those wanting the secret kept. It doesn’t do a whole lot for the one being asked to keep the secret. Eventually the truth comes out.
The secrets we try to keep from ourselves want to rise to the surface as well, even though we try to shove them in a corner of our mind or life. Sometimes this looks like staying busy, sort of like trying to outrun the secret. Other times it is expressed in self-destructive addictive behaviors like drugs, alcohol, anorexia, bulimia, overeating, pornography. In can manifest in a person isolating themselves from others for fear the secret will rear its ugly head at a most in opportune moment. Or we just cover it up with hopes it will stay silent.
One thing I know about truth, it will be heard. It may take years, decades, lifetimes, but it wants to be told. My truth, your truth can’t be held back. Even from the grave there are secrets that cry out to be told.
The opposite of keeping secrets from ourselves is sharing our life truth. Mine will be different from anyone else who was present for portions of my life. No one has been in my shoes for every day, of my life. Even if they were walking alongside of me all the way, every moment, they do not have access to my brain, my processing system, my filter through which I experience the world.
I can’t remember the details of every scene in my life. I can remember many sights, sounds, tastes, feels, smells of houses, places and things. They form the backdrops for the scenes to unfold.
I can remember people who have crossed over to the other side and cheer me on from the great grandstand in heaven. Each one played a vital role in the person I used to be and will be tomorrow. They are the glue that holds my life together today for without them, I would not be who I am.
I can remember many scenes almost verbatim, like a movie played in 3D, surround sound on IMAX. It is so real I can reach out and touch it. I can remember how the scenes impacted me—some negative, some positive
Writing changes me. It doesn’t change what has occurred in my life. It can change how I am tomorrow and even today. It’s not just telling stories that can be impactful but interpreting how those were seen through my lens as a three-year old, eight-year old and so on into adulthood.
Each step of the path is different. Each part affects the complete me. Each has parts that are both real and fake. I am like Lynn in that there are parts I remember completely and parts I fill in of my own accord. This is dangerous if you are a 58-year old still seeing through an eight-year old’s lens. That is, however, all I have to work with.
No one can say that is not the way it happened because to me it is the way it happened. However unlike Lynn I am open to new information and perceptions on which I have based my life.
Totally unlike Nathan I do not have a PhD in lies. I’m not very good at it even though I will admit to trying it from time to time. If I write about something that others remember a different way or even that research shows the data to be different, it is not an intentional lie. It is simply a remembered lie perhaps perpetuated by others and believed by me or vice versa. How can you blame a unclear remembrance on an eight-year old girl?
This is the truth I am understanding today. It is not about living in the past but learning what things to carry forward to the future and what things to release. Release of harmful things will bring renewal and dedication to seeing the future in a whole new light.
Remembering can indeed help me re-member my life into the type of truth I chose to make it.
Then, I can begin again.
*Not his/her real name