Friday, November 6, 2009


Since Mackenzie Phillips
started making the rounds of talk shows,
speaking her truth about her life as she sees it,

I've been thinking about secrets.

The kind of secrets that rule your life,
that make you see yourself as smaller than you are,
that fill you with a sense of shame.

The kind of secrets
that other people urge you to keep,
not for your own good
but for theirs.

What burdens have you carried for someone else
for far too long?


Bill Stankus said...

Secrets are not necessarily about shame or seeing yourself as smaller ... and secrets aren't secrets if other people are urging you to do something about them.

I keep secrets - my secrets - simply because they are not anyone else's business. And they don't rule my life. And if someone does tell me a secret - it remains a secret with me.

I see no value or benefit from "sharing" specific personal info in a pell mell mannor ... that plays into another set of values: pop psychology, gossip, insincerity, false promise and such.

beth said...

I agree with bill...I keep my secrets because they are the only thing that belong to me...ONLY...nobody else...just me...and if I were to share, I would lose something precious.

Meri said...

It's not so much a matter of sharing them, it's about acknowledging their existence and the impact that toxic secrets have on your psyche. Sharing them may or may not be therapeutic. But exposing them to the light of consciousness, seeing situations from the perspective of age and wisdom, can sometimes have a profound effect on people.

Some secrets are harmless and can even be savored, as Bill points out. The kinds of secrets that belong only to you are more likely to be the harmless, delightful kind of secret (provided you aren't a serial murderer or rapist, of course). By contrast, the kind of secrets that you are made complicit in against your will or better judgment or because of your innocence, now lost, are not harmless and take a toll on anyone forced to keep them.

I don't know whether Mackenzie Phillips sharing was productive or not. It seems to me that the therapeutic function was inherent in the writing. The publishing may have been more salacious than therapeutic, but then salacious sells books, doesn't it?

~JarieLyn~ said...

I'm wondering if Bill is a scorpio.

Some secrets are left as secrets because if told they would hurt the person you love most. And yet, those same secrets can cause a part of yourself to wither.

Relyn said...

Do you know, I honestly don't have any secrets. It sounds odd and unbelievable, but I am pretty transparent. When they first came out, I was enamoured of those Post Secret books. I wanted to participate. I thought for days about a secret I had. I finally thought of one.

Do you know what I did? I told it to Jeffrey. I did.

Relyn said...

That was not to say that I can't keep your secrets. Just my own. I don't have secrets of my own.