Cheri Speak

Is this mic on?


secret shhhhhh etsyMy Mom was a secret keeper. I never understood most of them. In fact I often thought many of her secrets were kind of silly and her reasoning behind them flawed. I mean who really cares if you bought a pair of Levis? Is it that big of a deal that you feel you have to make up an elaborate story as to how they came to be in your closet? Trying to keep all of her secrets under wraps was quite a chore and many times my brother and I would slip up and let the Levis out of the bag inadvertently. Obviously I am still here to tell the tale so we know the world didn’t end, but that doesn’t mean our lapse didn’t somehow cost her.

Not knowing something about someone doesn’t mean it’s a secret. There are plenty of things my kids do not know about me and I am sure there are tons of things I do not know about them. The question would be whether or not these things we don’t know about each other are intentionally withheld and if so then they are secrets.

Merriam Webster defines a “secret” as something…

  • kept from knowledge or view
  • marked by the habit of discretion
  • working with hidden aims or methods
  • not acknowledged
  • conducted in secret
  • remote from human frequentation or notice
  • revealed only to the initiated
  • designed to elude observation or detection
  • containing information whose unauthorized disclosure could endanger national security 

Some people share their secrets anonymously for the world to see. Others write songs about secrets or allude to secrets as marketing ploys in order to generate new business. secret ssshhh sodaheadWe have Secret deodorant and Secret Santa’s; secret recipes and  secret sauces. There are State Secrets, secret hide-outs and even secret societies.

We all have secrets. Some are small and insignificant while others have the power to change lives or even the world. So what makes a secret a secret and why do we keep them?

Friends often share secrets between them. Sometimes friends have secrets about one or the other with other friends. Sharing a secret can strengthen a friendship as well as tear it apart just like in any relationship. Sharing a secret with a secrets friendsfriend allows one to feel like they are not alone.

Marriages have secrets. Some experts even say secrets are good in a marriage. Of course they do not abdicate that all secrets are good. Spouses and lovers often tell “little white lies” in order to save feelings. Unfortunately they also tell big bad lies to save themselves.

Families have secrets. These are often things they don’t want the outside world to know for fear of being judged or ridiculed. Many family secrets involve abuses and the generational secret envelopegaps of then and now can be hurdles to understanding these are not secrets that should be kept. False or misplaced pride can keep a mouth shut for decades if not forever.

Businesses have secrets or proprietary information about their products or services that would be detrimental if in the hands of a competitor. Sometimes employees are made to sign non-disclosure in an attempt to keep their secrets under wraps. Too often these days’ businesses have secret books to distract from illegal activities.

secrets confidentialGovernments have secrets. Some of these secrets may well be in the best interest of their citizens however Whistleblowers have taught us that some secrets should be revealed because the secret is only protecting someone who is doing wrong in our name. State Secrets are often secret at the discretion of those in power and may not always be in our best interest.

The temptation to tell a secret can be challenging for some, but I found a website that actually teaches you how to keep a secret or you can just take George Orwell’s advice in 1984 where he said, “If you want to keep a secret, you must also hide it from yourself.”

I suppose at face value the assumption is that secrets are for the better good of something or someone, but not all secrets are good and the burden they put on the bearer can be immense. Guarding another’s secret can implicate you in their secret or deed. It can also place you in jeopardy depending on what the secret is. secrets allSometimes having to hold back the truth is a strain and a drain and makes us deceptive with those around us for no other reason than to keep the secret.

Do you have secrets? Of course you do, but are they secrets that should be told? Only you can answer that. It may be worth reminding you that when you ask someone to keep a secret the potential for your secret being ousted is high. Most people have a hard time keeping secrets that are not their own and if you’re wondering why I’m telling you all of this, I can’t tell you. It’s a secret!

3 comments on “Secrets

  1. Corner of Confessions
    December 13, 2012

    This was such a reflective read, i was absorbed in reading and analyzing myself I kind of didnt notice the post was ending and then i read the last sentence and laughed at loud. You have a great way of writing to lightening the mood, add a nice touch.

    I still don’t know about secrets. I guess its cause I equate secrets to lying. And i don’t lie. Granted as a teen I was known for not being forthcoming. If asked I would tell. But, i wouldn’t volunteer information . So, it could have been lying by omission. Like as a teen this was frequent conversation with my dad:

    Dad: You went out last night
    Me: Yes
    Dad: What time did you come home?
    Me: Late
    Dad: What time?
    Me: 6am
    Dad -__-

    To be honest, there is one secret I keep from my parents and older family members.. about smoking ciggys. Recently my dad saw my fiance grab a pack of ciggys from my purse and he was like YOU SMOKE?! Technically that WASN’T my pack, it was the fiancee. But my fiancee said THIS IS MINE. And my dad shuffled off. I didn’t LIE and say no but i didn’t saw YES either. It’s just I’m the youngest and they treat me so much differently. I’m the child that nothing is ever good enough.. .straight A student in high school… but wasn’t prom queen. Went to college…but didn’t have a job. So even though my whole family are smokers, and they don’t care. As soon as they find out about me.. it’s going to be a world war III and i DO feel bad about it but in the end I just want peace. Don’t want to be judged and the double standards. So i guess that is a secret. That’s why i don’t blog freely either since i link publicity to my facebook page and my Auntie is on facebook and once she knows something the whole family knows something. I swear the grown ups in my family gossip more than teenage girls.


  2. C. R.
    December 13, 2012

    LOL thank you for the compliment and the story! I blog freely for the most part. At 44 I am done with hiding and being who others want or expect me to be.


  3. Pingback: What’s the Most Significant Secret I’ve Ever Kept? | Cheri Speak

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