A Saucerful of Secrets

August 17, 2008 at 6:51 pm | Posted in Me + Myself + I | 12 Comments
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I remember when I first started keeping diaries, I was thrilled by the feeling that every thought in my head – every vague idea, every bizarre wish, every whim – could be written down on paper. Since I am completely reserved and utterly private, it was all new to me. Nobody, right since childhood could ever tell what I was thinking any given moment. I was too good at being secretive.

When I started writing down my thoughts in my diary, I was terrified that somebody else would find it and read through it, and discover all about me. And I didn’t want that. My mind was my own property – and sharing it with somebody else seemed a terrifying prospect to me.

It was this insecurity that magnified my sense of isolation and made me very guarded with secrets. I didn’t have a sense of belonging – to anyone or anything. I knew I couldn’t put trust in others, because I had learned that lesson early enough (and the hard way) in life – if I told them, they would either laugh at me, or reject me. So I withheld. But others have always trusted me with their secrets, so perhaps it is quite selfish of me to not trust them in return.

That is why I guess, nobody really knows me. Nobody. There’s a certain amusement and a sense of mild annoyance I get from listening to someone talking about me. They can’t figure me out.

Secrets possess power and terror. And yet I would like to throw them all away, to free myself from their clutch, so that I’ll be left with nothing to hide.

Because there is something very weighty attached to consciousness. If you’re the kind of individual that knows yourself really well, that consciousness – that knowledge, of yourself, is a terrible burden. Because in your case, you can watch the actions and emotions and feelings and doings not only of yourself but also that of others – with a calculating and accurate eye. You observe and you understand. And worse still, it doesn’t leave you out cold. It affects you more deeply than others.

I suppose I shall never have the comfort of having to listen to another person reading me. I don’t know if I am just being selfish. But the feeling that there is someone out there in the world apart from yourself – that knows you inside out, that can read you like an open book, that really gets you – it’s an enormously precious comfort…unlike anything else.



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  1. Everyone has secrets.. It is what makes you different from everyone else. If no one has his or her own secret, then the world would be quite scary. Alot of people would be hurt and killed..

    In regard to my anaology … I believe that if life were sound, then it would be much easier. And it wasn’t rhyming, then we have problems. And chaos is not fun right? But i guess chaos is what makes the world goes round. (self contradiction arghhhhh)

  2. well i do agree that when you are a kind of a conservative person you end up revealing very little of yourselves to others and thus keeping your secrets very well. Also you become a good observer and can define anyone s character whom you know yet they wont be able to describe you that well. Well but I dont agree with your point of knowing yourself being a terrible burden. I feel there s nothing better than knowing yourself fully as then you know your capabilities and limits. All in all a nice post. Kinda reminds me of how I am.(Though I never kept a diary…needed to be on the safe side)

  3. @Justin: The world would be scary aye, but on the plus side, the concept of blackmail would never exist! And yeah, chaos makes the world go round. =D

    @nemesis89: I see where you’re coming from – in fact, the old philosophy ‘Know thyself’ probably rings true for conservative folks more than the others…but apart from the strengths and weaknesses, the totality of your knowledge in some way has a dreadful way of making you feel…’lonely’, that’s the only thing I can call it.

  4. We all have parts that we keep hidden, often life is a constant battle between image and self, in a vain bid to be accepted.
    Though you do need at times to trust others and reach out a little, other wise things sit very lonley!

  5. Your post reminded me of the following paragraph from Maugham:

    Each one of us is alone in the world. He is shut in a tower of brass, and can communicate with his fellows only by signs, and the signs have no common value, so that their sense is vague and uncertain. We seek pitifully to convey to others the treasures of our heart, but they have not the power to accept them, and so we go lonely, side by side but not together, unable to know our fellows and unknown by them.

    I sincerely hope that there will one day be someone in your life who would want to discover you, and you would want to open up to them. It is an awful feeling to realize how incomplete and ugly the world is, but we’re all in the same pit.

    P.S. Nice new theme! I want to ask what the blurred text says, but of course that must be a secret as well ;)

  6. I am the same way..and your words freak me out a little, if I am honest..which damn my hide I always am..even in those soul cringing moments when I should lie my ass off but don’t due to the aforementioned cringing.

  7. dumakey: Aye, but when it’s a kind of loneliness that’s been predominant since early childhood, then you get used to it I guess. Also, you are spot on about that battle between life and image analogy.

    Constantin: Where do you get such interesting books to read? Oh and thanks :] also nice quote :D

    Bekki: haha, great minds think alike eh? :D

  8. This is part of what is driving the oversharing movement in the blogosphere. I, too, feel like no one truly understands me, so i overshare on my blog (or i intend to, because i haven’t revealed too much just yet, just testing the waters). I like how the anonymity of computer-mediated communication allows full public disclosure.  Full public disclosure that can help people.  People say writing in a journal allows you to “get stuff your chest”, but i think publicizing your journal, even if you choose to keep it anonymous, is much more helpful.  It’s a much more satisfying kind of purgation, and even more so if readers respond to your writing.  Plus, when you write for the public, you have to write well and tailor your writing to a specific audience, and that turns your journaling into an art. Now, as to the readers, they should have to benefit from that kind of disclosure as well, shouldn’t they?  That’s why the most successful bloggers i know are the ones who *aren’t* anonymous and yet are still unafraid to reveal all the dark secrets of their lives, thereby gaining the complete trust of their readers and forming a tightly knit community through compassion.  Dooce is such an example, and i am still a coward.

    And as to having someone know you and read you, i wish for that too. Desperately. I want an alter ego. I think that’s what all of us are searching for, our “true love,” to be clichéd. But i also think the journey to finding real love can be just as exciting as the love itself.

  9. j – hmm, I spose most of us go through the ‘no one understands me’ phase at least at some point of our lives (I have raised it to an art form hehe); though our responses greatly vary. For example, some folks try to deal with it by retreating into a shell and becoming all withdrawn, while others may project a false image to the world, as to have a sense of security.
    As to revealing secrets, I guess it’s also down to who you choose to share them with…and also, getting someone to ‘understand’ you, I don’t think that always has to do with the sort of ‘true love’, it can be like any person apart from yourself, just another human being that has license and ability enough to ‘read’ you, not necessarily being a lover.

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