Thursday, June 14, 2007

Over-utilized and under-used

After having almost exhausted the topic of keeping secrets, I started to wonder about the virtue of honesty. Since I'm a fan of analogies and examples, here's one to make life easier.

Let's say there's a girl. And she's in love with this guy. We'll call her Sheryl and we'll call him Mike for now. Sheryl thinks Mike is hot, Mike finds Sheryl attractive. They've known each other for a few years now, maybe three. One day, Sheryl wakes up to the realization that the explanation for that uneasy feeling in the pit of her stomach is that thing we call love. She's in love. With Mike. But Mike on the other hand, is possibly in love with someone else. Someone he can't have. But instead of doing the gentlemanly thing of putting Sheryl out of her misery and acting uninterested, distant and aloof, he makes the classic move of doing this part-time while sending out his famous male cocktail of mixed signals (sans olive) for the other half. Ignoring Sheryl is his usual behavior, but every once in a while, to keep things exciting, and Sheryl on her toes, he puts out his bat-signal. "I'm into you," it says to Sheryl. And we're not talking vague and open to misinterpretation "eye-contact" here; we're talking an undisputable message, but strangely without the fine print of an RSVP or even a return address. Both parties know that the message was sent and in turn received, but neither acknowledge its delivery. Her heart beats a million miles a minute, it drowns out everything else. His heart beats.....well this is the problem: we simply don't know.

And this is where our elusive friend Honesty pops in, rearing her frightening head and triggering what can only be dramatically described as a downward-spiraling obsession. At this point, Sheryl thinks: Maybe I should come clean. We're adults. It's not like I won't recover from this. What's the worst that could happen? At least I'll know once and for all where I stand.

But she does nothing.

People always say "honesty is the best policy"; possibly the most over-utilized but under-used clich├ęs around. We throw it around like we would a frisbee on a Saturday afternoon. Easily, breezily... But like a frisbee, much simpler in theory. What we forget to consider is the wind direction, the glare of the sun, the gradient of the slope and, most importantly, the other frisbee-throwers.

In theory it's a great idea, but practically, we always end up lying on the prickly grass, staring at odd cloud formations with our lips firmly sealed, just hoping not to get hit by a rogue frisbee...

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Fortified armour

Just when I thought I'd got all that secret business out of my system, it creeps up on me stealthily as I plod through my daily life, getting on with the mundane and the routine, camouflaging the truth.

Do we all have secrets? Simply put, yes. Some of us more than others, some of us less that we'd like and some of us more than others would ever imagine. But we all have them, things that we are ashamed we have done, feelings we are too scared to admit and perhaps relationships that are too taboo for us to emerge unscathed from.

I think I am coming to a realisation. Despite what Frank Warren is telling me; that getting my secrets off my chest and out into cyberspace will bring me some semblance of peace and clarity, I beg to differ. In fact, I like my secrets. Sometimes they may be haunting and sometimes they make me feel giddy inside, and even though I may not always like their content per se, I can't deny that I like having them.

I enjoy knowing that there are some things that only I know, or perhaps me and one other person. The secrets, on some level, contribute to defining who I am, and by giving them away, even to supposed strangers separated by no more than six degrees, I am willingly becoming more vulnerable. Less safe. Increasingly exposed.

Instead, I'll fortify my armour, reinforce my walls and widen my moat...and hold on to my secrets for a little while longer.