Everybody has secrets; feelings and thoughts that make a home in a cave inside of someone’s heart. Sometimes those shelters of stone will eventually soften enough to spill out, or become weathered by the winds of a storm. Other times they hole themselves up for good.
Lies protect these secrets that at times are unknowing even to the beholder. We sit with undisclosed information without being aware that we are holding within ourselves something dark and muddy. Sometimes we tell ourselves that it is no secret of ours; if someone asked we should surely tell them. But what question would specify enough to unlock the hidden treasure? We feel safe because we know that no inquiry would even begin to scratch the surface.
We know this, and we run with it; wrapping ourselves between the folds and layers of circumstances and words delivered just so. We tread carefully when choosing who to uncloak for, and who to invite into the shadows.
Secrets don’t always weigh us down, often they aren’t even secrets of substance, and instead they are secrets of longings or wants. Other times they are secrets of regret and memories. Some carry with them the burden of being attached to another. Some are cursed with the knowledge that the moving of said secret will cause a string of events to occur, and that inevitably the lives of others will be touched; Much like the way a line of dominoes collapses in a ripple, one after the other. We tiptoe across the day, as though walking on a tightrope, because we know that even the slightest of movements may cause it all to tremble, and then fall.
What we tend to forget is that the slip of words, an act of admission or confession or divulgence, can lift something out of you. And beyond that it can take that lightness and pull you closer towards somewhere, or someone else. A diaphanous moment or encounter binds people to one another, in a way that only two people who are naked and unashamed can be familiar.
Although some secrets are meant to sit in our chest and stew, some aren’t. Some secrets aren’t really meant to be secrets at all.
I wasn’t sure what seemed to be bothering me on this average Monday. I could think of nothing in particular; but for some odd reason, things just felt to be slightly off kilter. The light from outside my window fell into my room in slats as I made my way through the pages of a novel. I curled my toes against the soft felt of a blanket and tightened the cracks of my eyes, straining through the thoughts in my head, trying to catch only those of relevance.
Of course I at first reached for the obvious; the summer is steadily making its way toward me, bringing with it an impending promise of loneliness and restlessness; but it didn’t take me but a moment to realize this is not a reason for the odd feeling of discontentment that has settled upon me today. I wound the rough, patterned flesh of my pointer finger over the glossy bronze of my thumb nail. Maybe, I thought to myself it must be the eagerness I feel for the weekend that feels so far away because of the stigma of eternal distance that Monday seems to carry with it.
That either, didn’t seem to suffice.
This agitation seemed to have etched itself into me, placing odd thoughts in my head, and blessing my bones with a chilling cold.
Words seem to be harder to spit out, coherent ideas harder to come by. I thought of people I should speak to, or things I wanted to say, but the act of disclosure seemed futile and unnecessary.
Maybe it was the exhaustion I felt this morning as I lifted myself out of bed and pounded my feet against the pavement. Maybe it the annoyance of a stubbed toe, and a brain that wouldn’t focus. Or possibly it was the sheath of unknown wetness that sat underneath my foot below the bathroom sink. Perhaps it was this rather depressing book that was filling me with intruding feelings. Maybe it was how nothing I ate seemed to taste satisfying, or the fact that my 1pm cup of tea was not all I had thought it would be.
But I knew that none of these things were the source, because the usual annoyance that would be brought on by these inconveniences sat on a self just high enough to be out of my reach. Instead I felt no vexation against these misfit odds and ends that had been brought upon me, but instead, an apathetic carelessness for them, matched with a sleepwalk that had carried me out of bed this morning, into the shower, to class and eventually deposited me onto this couch.
I find myself coming to no conclusions except that it must just be one of those days.
Words appear in my brain as though put there by an unstoppable, invisible force. They swirl around, tangling amongst each other until tumbling into phrases. Sometimes they are coherent thoughts; other times they leave me scrambling for a way to twist them into something lucid.
Before my fingers have touched the keyboard of my laptop or my pen has graced a page, I already have sentences, paragraphs or sometimes pages pre-written in my mind. I wonder sometimes where these words come from. I look to the sky, wondering if maybe they come from God; I press my fingertips to my chest, thinking that maybe they bleed from my heart; I inhale deeply, questioning if I breathe them in through air; I trace the edges of a flower, thinking that perhaps I perceive the words through physical touch.
I have yet to diagnose where these adjectives, nouns and verbs come from, when I have not consciously drawn inspiration from anywhere in particular. But my expressions usually ring true to something. There have been times when I have unknowingly predicted events, or when a phrase that I stumbled over perfectly describes something that I had long ago deemed indescribable.
My words break boundaries, expectations and even knock down the walls I myself have built. These thoughts, sent from somewhere other than me battle against my doubt and pride.
Trust has become something that I have forgotten; I swim upstream, fighting against the current of it. But although my heart has long ago dismissed the loyalty of others, and good intentions, it somehow completely abandons itself to my words. I trust that when my pen hits paper the words scribed will speak only of things that are true.
I escape through my writing, enveloping myself in the storylines I create. I develop characters who understand my pain, joy and angst, letting myself befriend someone I can relate to.
When I was younger I would weave tales of girls like me, encountering events that were very unlikely to ever happen to me. I once wrote of a third grader who encountered a trophy stealing vampire. I also recall drafting the inner most thoughts of a girl who shrunk to the size of a lady bug and danced on the soft petals of a butterfly bush.
But now, I am a writer of words, and of feelings and anger, of hope and doubts, of the past and the future. My need to write is involuntary, and dangles from my side like an added appendage. I gain confidence from my writing and self-assurance. I grapple with possible life changing decisions and emotions that I cannot understand.
I have become defined, not as someone who writes, but as a writer.