Or do we share the same secret without knowing it?

Don Delillo

There are certain things about myself which I rarely if ever reveal to others. I suppose they could be loosely called facts.

Are they secrets?

I suppose they could be loosely called secrets. I don’t consider them secrets.

They’re simply things I don’t feel the need to divulge. Sometimes because they seem to me to be irrelevant to others. They are only relevant to me.

Some of these things are ones which I know will cause interference in an interaction. They’re the sort of things which when you say them in a conversation may interrupt the flow of it.

Like mentioning in the midst of a discussion about the other person’s personal life that you’ve always found the colour yellow too agitating to wear, but love it when it is used by nature to decorate a field of grass as then it is lively but not agitating.

You may feel a pause of awkwardness, and that feeling may haunt the rest of the conversation for you, even if it appears to continue as it had before the random blurt of irrelevance and the other person barely noticed it.

“Every sentence has a truth waiting at the end of it… …I’ve always seen myself in sentences. I begin to recognize myself, word by word, as I work through a sentence.” ― Don DeLillo

Why did I say that? You may ask yourself.

Do you feel foolish or just perplexed?

Does it go down on that list which you keep to remind yourself of all the stupid things you’ve said.

Are those things really stupid or just deemed stupid by your inner critic?

Or is there something else which you have not been able to label correctly so you apply whatever labels you have handy and in stock. A something else which is a sense that you’ve given something away, something which was precious to you… and now it is gone. Something which you didn’t realise how valuable it was until it was gone.


And why did you say it?

Did you want to disrupt the flow, hoping perhaps that it would cause a deviation which would lead discussion elsewhere?

Did something in the conversation make you think of this random tidbit which isn’t as random as it seems?

Were your eyes wandering and caught sight of something which inspired the need to share a thought?

“Sometimes I see something so moving I know I’m not supposed to linger. See it and leave. If you stay too long, you wear out the wordless shock. Love it and trust it and leave.” ― Don DeLillo

The things we say, be they thought out or impulsive, are all a part of who we are. As are the things which we don’t say.

Sometimes what we don’t say is more important than that which is said because we hold it back as though it is precious. A treasure which we do not want to share, at least not with those who may not appreciate that it is a treasure… and knowing the difference between those who would appreciate it and those who wouldn’t can be tricky. At times the only way to know who is who is by sharing the treasure and observing how it is received… but then the treasure is no longer the same and we feel different about it.

Sometimes we hold our words back because we are afraid to share them, and not because they are a treasure so much as a weapon. A weapon which might hurt others, or ricochet back and hurt us, and we’re not always sure which outcome is worse, if there is an outcome at all.

“How strange it is. We have these deep terrible lingering fears about ourselves and the people we love. Yet we walk around, talk to people, eat and drink. We manage to function. The feelings are deep and real. Shouldn’t they paralyze us? How is it we can survive them, at least for a little while? We drive a car, we teach a class. How is it no one sees how deeply afraid we were, last night, this morning? Is it something we all hide from each other, by mutual consent? Or do we share the same secret without knowing it? Wear the same disguise?” ― Don DeLillo

There are many reasons why we say what we say and don’t say what we don’t say, as many reasons as the mind can invent, some true, some perhaps not so true, yet within each untruth lies a kernel of truth, and within each truth lies a kernel of untruth.

And sometimes that is why we hold things in… they might become untrue if spoken, and this is something which we need to believe and be true for us.

The secret itself may not be of as great a value as the act of having a secret which belongs to us alone, and by holding a secret we hold in our inner hands our sense of self, of being an individual. That secret makes us unique… and as long as we don’t share it we won’t know how many others hold within their inner hands the exact same secret.

If we knew would it be a joyous morsel of knowledge or a melancholic one?

Sometimes we love to share, to be a part of others, to unite in all that is the same, familiar, which merges us.

And sometimes we need a place where we are separate and alone. A moment of existential solitude.

If I shared these loose facts and loose secrets about myself, I’d be giving myself away, not as in revealing who I really am behind who I pretend to be, not like that, but as in giving my sense of self away…

When I do reveal them… it is time to let them go.


Sometimes we change and that is when we let go of old treasures which held our sense of self…

We let them go often with a ceremonious reveal, which reveals to us how little these things which were once so precious mean to us now.

We empty our inner hands of what we no longer need to hold and…

…And replace them with new ones.

If you knew what these things are which I hold in my inner hands, you’d probably give me one of those looks which people give other people when they say something like – I don’t wear yellow because it smells like mustard and stings my nostrils.

It may be irrelevant to others, but to me it means everything.

There are certain things which are best kept in the treasure trove within.

“If you reveal everything, bare every feeling, ask for understanding, you lose something crucial to your sense of yourself. You need to know things that others don’t know. It’s what no one knows about you that allows you to know yourself.” ― Don DeLillo