Secrets

This week, the spin cycle prompt is about secrets. I was one to easily spill secrets as a child. My sister always knew what she’d get for her birthday at least a week in advance, and this was not just due to the fact that there were noticeable patterns in my gift-giving – from a few years where I’d give her pavement chalk to a few years of colored markers to at last the inevitable cheap tween fiction when she was about ten to twelve. I think I didn’t quite understand the concept of secret-keeping if someone was going to find out about the “secret” soon enough anyway.

I also didn’t keep my own secrets. As a teen, I kept a journal faithfully and hoped my parents wouldn’t read it, but I spilled bits of it to anyone who remotely resembled my concept of a friend. I know that deep down, I wanted people to know the darkness of my experiences. I was extremely naive, yet also mistrusting of people like my own parents.

This discrepancy grew when the Internet came into my life when I was sixteen. I spilled my deepest secrets to my online diary, but when my parents asked me how I was, I responded with the usual “fine” or a grunt. My parents had a proxy server through which we accessed the Internet, and I now know they at least had the opportunity to log my Internet activity. I think they actually may’ve done so, as one day when I’d had an Internet connection for about six months, my father offhandly remarked that all I looked at were disability sites or storytelling sites (the story site being about disability, too, but he couldn’t tell that by its name).

With regard to other people’s secrets, I don’t “just know” when I shouldn’t say something. This has led to a number of awkward situations, from my spilling personal details about my relationship (and hence, my husban’ds life) to the Internet, to my telling my parents my husband’s jokes that mock my parents’ political persuasion. I truly have to be explicitly told that something is private or that I need to keep it to myself.

There are several factors that contribute to my inability to keep secrets. First, there is the idea, which I’ve read is common in autistics, that other people know anyway. I don’t literally think that, as Stephen M. Edelson pointed it, other people can read my thoughts, but the idea is at the back of my mind nonetheless. Related to this idea is the inability to see that, what I know, not everyone else should necessarily know too. Lastly, there is a reason why I particularly spill secrets to the Internet. I think I may not fully realize that those on the other end of the Interwebs, are actually real people. That doesn’t mean I don’t develop online relationships or that I’m not affected by what other people put online. However, it is still hard for me to grasp that screen names (or even real names on Facebook) correspond to actual, real people, even those I may encounter in real life.

12 thoughts on “Secrets

  1. Fun original post! I just found you through Dannii and I really love that owl you have –so pretty!!! I’m glad I found you!

    I am a big fan of keeping secrets but also being open about my life. I can’t keep any secrets from my hubby, which is good, but I want others to be able to rely on me…I know I’ve told others some pretty big secrets and wanted them to keep hushed 🙂

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  2. I keep secrets fairly well, but my mother is not one for keeping things like gifts secret–she’s all about spilling the beans. Kind of like the whole, you will know soon enough anyway, so…

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    1. I have miexed feelings about keeping my mouth shut when a friend confides in me. Like, if their safety is at stake, we as friends may not have a legal responsibiity to tell, but we possibly do have a moral responsibility.

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  3. I can keep secrets fairly well, but have a hard time keeping my mouth shut when I should about other things (like my life, or what’s going on with my kids). There are times I wonder if I should even blog about my boys. I don’t spill any secrets (and I’m rather good at not repeating -everything- the boys say and do), but how much of my son’s struggles with his sensory issues should I share with the world? My husband isn’t into computers that much, especially social sites; I am the opposite. There are times he has been thrown for a loop when someone we know IRL makes a comment about something I posted on Facebook. It’s not that I have shared anything bad, but I think my husband thinks not much of anything should be shared, ever. Yeah, sorry, I’m a woman; I’m not wired to keep my mouth shut or photos of my cute kids to myself. 🙂

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    1. Oh yeah, maybe it’s a female thing. My husband doesn’t use Facebook or Twitter or whatever either. He knows a lot about computers though and knows what happens to your info when you share it online (like FB sharing it with its advertisers). I know most of that stuff too but don’t particularly care. Then again I’m not a parent so it isn’tlike I have a little one who might not like their info online when they grow up.

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  4. Thanks for this insight into your thought process, Astrid. I have a friend who has a similar issue of not knowing how/when to keep things private. It’s somewhat annoying at first, but once I realized what’s going on, it’s not too hard to deal with.

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  5. I am not a fan of having to keep secrets. The minute someone tells me not to repeat something they have just said, I just want to talk about it!

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