A very dear friend of mine shared a secret with me. I’m not telling you what it was, so don’t hold your breath. What I will tell you is that my admiration and sincere connection to this friend grew exponentially when the secret was shared. I felt more human for the sharing, even though it had nothing to do with me, and I felt far less alone. I felt a sameness. I was inspired by the bravery of the reveal.
I take absolute pleasure in people sharing truths. Regardless of whether they’re gritty, naughty, silly, lovely, shameful, grotesque, beautiful, ridiculous, or whatever. To me, there’s nothing better than real stuff. I am also aware of the valuable beating that my demanding ego receives when I disclose something personal – I am human, and when I’m revealed there’s no pretension of ego that can cover that up. Good.
In a 2003 talk at Sydney Town Hall, Tom Stoppard said “it’s not the moments of genius or perfection that are amazing in a person, but the moments of humanity – honest interaction with the world”. I agree. So, this is for that friend who secret-exposed and said my writing is a proud and honest path, and for the others that shared their secrets with me in the past (you know who you are). Not because these secrets are exceptional in any way, but because they’re true. I apologise in advance for any discomfort these disclosures might cause:
Secrets I’ve got:
1. If I fart I will almost never admit it. Even when there’s only one other person in the room. I don’t care that they know it wasn’t them. It wasn’t me either.
2. When I use the phrase “almost never” I actually mean “never”.
3. If I see a cashier looking strangely at the amount of sweets I’m purchasing I’ll lean in, roll my eyes, and say, “another party!” when the fact is, they’re all for me.
4. As a little girl I often daydreamed about becoming so dazzling beautiful that “everyone would be sorry”… Whatever the hell that meant. In truth I still find myself daydreaming about that now. I’m 32.
5. I secretly believe that excessively smart/attractive/funny/successful people are somehow mocking me just by existing.
6. I spent thousands of dollars on telling therapists how much they were helping me. I did this regardless of whether or not the treatment was effective, because I wanted them to feel they were doing a good job, and I couldn’t bear the thought of them not liking me.
7. Once, when I was 17 and very stoned, I laughed so hard at a television show that I actually wet myself, leaving a big damp patch on the couch. I blamed the dog.
8. I have an eating disorder that has nearly cost my life. More than once. Every confronting emotion I experience feels like hunger.
9. When I explained to my French hairdresser last week that I hated my hair, she said “But why? Eet ees just your ‘air!”. She was so right that I wanted to punch her.
10. When other people are right my instinctual response is almost always to be annoyed.
11. I’m so ego-driven that the phrase “it’s not about you” is all about me. And I can’t figure out how it could not be.
12. When unanswered emails begin to pile up in my inbox and I’m being too childish to deal with them, I will deliberately not open my email account for days. I do this because I’m pretending I don’t know they’re there, and I can’t get into trouble for not dealing with something I don’t know about… Did I mention that I’m 32 years old?
13. I still loathe the tap dancing teacher who made me be a pumpkin in the dance recital when I was 8. She said I was talentless and part of me will always believe her.
14. As a kid I was busted by my grandmother as I was “practicing making love” to a pillow in my room. She stared for a moment, didn’t say a word, turned, and then left. We never spoke about it. It still makes me want to die of shame.
15. I secretly believe the following 2 things at once, and both are terrifying:
– Firstly, that my Mother is the only person who will read this.
– Secondly, that everyone in the world will read this.
This may be the bravest, the stupidest, or the most self-indulgent column I’ve ever written. It could be all three of those things. At any rate, it is the truest – I’m still squirming from the honesty – fighting the desperate want to scrap the whole thing and replace it with something that makes me look good. Better. More perfect. But I’m a little more humble for the writing. And I know you won’t tell anyone.