We dance round the ring and suppose, but the secret sits in the middle and knows. - Robert Frost
Whenever I read the secrets sent in to Frank Warren on PostSecret, I always find myself wondering who they are, why they sent in a secret, what their full story is... I imagine that most of these people feel trapped in their own skin, that they can't share their secrets with anyone. Are they released from their own prison by anonymously submitting their secret to the Internet world? Do these prisoners send their secrets to be personally released, or perhaps to release someone else? Over the last two years, I have personally resonated with many of the secrets, and I can't imagine I'm alone in that.
Two Sundays ago, one of the 20 secrets posted said, "I bought the coolest phone on the planet - but it still only rings as often as my old phone did." Someone else left a comment on it that read: "I feel the same way. I often wonder why I even have a phone because I rarely receive calls. If there was a way we could contact each other, that would be cool. My phone number is 605-212-7787."
His phone started ringing like crazy. He "unknowingly, tapped into fears that many of us share: that in a busy, crammed-full life, no one remembers us; that our answering machines never flash because we simply don't matter to anyone; that in an era when communication with others is easier than ever before, we are communicating less and less" (Jill Callison).
I'm not at all surprised by the response he received, by his comment on PostSecret, or by the secret itself. No one wants to be forgotten... no one likes being alone. We're afraid.
Afraid of being the old cat lady on the corner, or the creepy loner who lives in the woods. Petrified of always being the "best friend," while all of our friends run off with their new husbands or wives. Terrified we'll become the aunt or uncle who loves his nieces and nephews as if they were his own, simply because he doesn't have his own. We don't want to be different. We don't want to stand out in the crowd as the weird one or the oddball. We're afraid.
And our fear brings us together. Our fear creates an opportunity for something we long for: relationship.
But for some of us, a greater fear exists than these.
I am afraid of relationships themselves. Afraid of being vulnerable. Afraid of being open. Afraid of being myself, for fear that myself won't be accepted, appreciated, loved. Petrified of missing out on life, on my best friends' lives, by being too wrapped up in relationships of my own. Terrified of the spotlight being on me - so I hide. I let myself be the weird one, the oddball.
And most days I'm okay with that. Most days I remind myself that I've shut many doors, and I don't want to open new ones.
I admit, this is quite the paradox. To those around me, I'm outgoing, social, humorous, fun, open, talkative. And I am, I'm not denying that. But I'm suggesting there's more to me. I am more than fun and talkative. I have substance. Like anyone else, I have dreams and goals and desires for my life. I'm not saying I'm anything special or unique or different. I just want the world to know that there is more. And maybe that is my secret.
My secret. My prison.
A few months ago, I started closing all kinds of doors. I blogged about a specific part of it on August 9th, but I think the process started in June. In writing, I've mainly focused on closing doors on specific relationships, but I'm realizing it's much more than that. I also closed the door on who I was in those relationships, and I'm moving forward so I might become something better.
I'm releasing myself - who I was. I'm releasing my secret, that I might have none. That I would no longer fear relationships and all they entail - that I may fear God and nothing else.
I don't want to live a "by-the-book" life that the world is living.
But I'm honestly trying to live my life by the Book... it's no secret that it's the only way to experience true love, peace, hope, and joy.
"The man who can keep a secret may be wise, but not half as wise as the man who has no secrets to keep." - Edgar Watson Howe
Now playing: Iron & Wine - Innocent Bones
Posted by Jessica B.