Back in, oh, 2005 maybe, all of my insides were shaken when introduced to the idea of “the box,” that is, the place where you keep secrets no one knows. I remember having a conversation about this with a friend, who had learned about it in a psychology class, and to this day, I don’t know if this is wide-spread concept or something that one professor believed.
But it struck me: did I have a box? Did I have secrets no one knew?
I sure did.
There was something very unsettling about it for me.
I decided to empty my box.
(Let me pause here and say: this is not my field, so I can’t speak about this psychologically or medically or in any smart way except that I have seen secrets ruin lives. But I also know that it is not safe for everyone to share secrets. So there’s no judgement or advice here, just a story, just my story.)
I didn’t take out a billboard and post my secrets. I didn’t start this blog till much later. I started small. One on one with a very safe friend. Then another friend. One summer, I decided to talk about OCD in front of a group of 9th and 10th grade campers and my counselor friends. I truly thought I was opening Pandora’s Box, forever altering the course of my life.
I mean … I was. But not in the negative, scary way I feared.
Later, I started this blog. Wrote about mental illness in the university newspaper. Spoke for a few classes.
Let me again be clear: some of my secrets (like OCD), I eventually felt safe to share with anyone. But some of my secrets are still only shared with one or two best friends. I do not owe the world my secrets. I only owe myself freedom from them. So when I find a secret is holding me hostage, I start with finding one safe friend to share it with. Sometimes it never goes any further than that. Sometimes I share it with a group or this blog or toss it into the wilds of Instagram.
So, I’ve been secret-free since 2005. It feels good.