Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Secrets and lies

I hate secrets. Even cute ones. To see two lovers or friends whisper in each other's ear irks me. What's the big mystery? Why can't you tell me? I empathize with the fifth grade teacher, "Would you two like to share that with the rest of the class?" I guess that probably stems from my very human need to belong. But there's more than that. I think secrets bother me because they are one step away from lies. Withholding information, making shit up, and embellishing stories are all on the continuum of lying, and I've always had a problem with lying. The values of honesty, justice, righteousness and integrity are so instilled in me that I've just always been incapable of it.

On some level, I think that everything that I do, even the things which could be considered "bad" are just human, natural, and excusable, so there's really no need to lie. I generally believe we people are a bit too secretive. We are a guilty, guilty culture, living hedonistically then punishing ourselves for it. We extol personal freedom while judging others for exercising it. Then we keep secrets in order to avoid being judged for something we did, didn't do, said, or didn't say, laid or didn't lay. Even the "bad" things we do have their place among an imperfect people. Problem is, we think we're perfect, that our friends and family need us to be perfect (maybe they do), so we lie about who we really are and what we are doing.

I've been toiling with this dilemma all week. After rolling half-way across the country, I've managed to hand out a big stack of business cards directing people to read my travel blog. Friends, family, acquaintances, lovers, ex-lovers, bosses, ex-bosses, future bosses, strangers, and probably Michael Jackson are reading the accounts of my travels. How, as a writer, do I frame my experiences in a way that can be digested by such a broad audience? Furthermore, how can I relay the bizarre and beautiful events of my trip without betraying the trust of someone along the way? I'm an idealistic gal, and I believe in honesty. I believe in owning my experiences, including my mistakes. I believe in loving those "whoopsies" as a part of being an idiot human being. It's funny after all, the crazy things we imperfect people do.

What's not funny, though, is hurting people. Or airing someone else's secrets inadvertently by airing my own. And therein lay the issue, my friends. This past week was a doozie. One that would make for good writing in an anonymous world. What's worse, given my lack of shame I think I could write it well. Even worse than that is that I have a burning need to get this week and the accompanying thoughts all over paper like meat juice at a butcher shop. I'm not a good secret-keeper because I'm not a good lier. But I have no choice. I have to be like Oprah and go with my gut. I have to be like the LA police and protect the innocent. I have to be like Bill Clinton and say "I did not have sexual relations with Monica Lewinsky."

The only thing that brings me peace in this is the knowledge that the future is coming, and with it will be the ubiquitous hindsight that makes everyone see things so much more rationally. This will all one day, folks, be in the past. The past is fair game, and when my trip is finished I'm going to write the shit out of this week with a cool detachment. And y'all will eat it up, I swear. And everyone will smile, saying, "Eva, you are out of your mind and that's why we love you!" And then we'll toast our wine glasses high and sip gratuitously, laughing at our good fortunes. And our hearts will meet, and we won't need secrets because we'll all be free and in love.


Rachel Tamed said...

There was a time during my wild days when I blogged about everything, and I was sort of shocked to find out that people did not like me broadcasting even the most true of events. I would suggest changing names and locations, and maybe even throwing in some bizarre attribute or character trait totally unlike the person you are actually speaking of.

Jeanie said...

I whisper to my husband, but it's only "this looks like the bar that was on 'Cheaters' last night", and I whisper it cause I don't want folks to know I love that show. It's followed by 'Cops' which I don't watch -- I get sad seeing some old dude in a white '91 Pontiac Sunbird get pulled over for driving erratically, only to get arrested cause the cops searched the car and found he'd made a roach clip out of an empty Tic Tac container.