When adults share secrets with children, it often has the same effect, but with the weight of burden. This weight of ‘keeping’ an adult’s secret is not meant for the psyche of a child and often adults who are emotionally no more than children themselves deep down, have little idea what it is they truly ask of the little ones.
I know. I am a keeper of secrets.
And if one who writes is to ‘write what they know’, how then do I possibly draw upon my experiences without revealing secrets too dark, too deep, and too dangerous to speak of?
I wrote about committing suicide as a stream-of-consciousness assignment for tenth grade creative writing class. In a panic, and rightfully so, my teacher summoned me to the guidance counselor’s office, where I spent 45 minutes reassuring both adults that my piece was a simply a writing exercise.
Nothing could have been further from the truth. I was working through the details of how to end my life. That writing assignment turned my decision around. I realized that if I was going to ‘off’ myself, it shouldn’t be because of my family’s intense pain and craziness swirling around me.
I realized that I should only kill myself because it truly was my choice — an action based on me, not a reaction based on others.
In the process of writing that paper, I realized that I could also choose to not kill myself.
I decided to keep my writing to myself from that day on. I had a lot to learn from the conversations with myself, and the secrets I was guarding could cause too much collateral damage. Keeping quiet, blending into the background, becoming invisible if necessary, would keep everyone safe.