Saturday, June 15, 2013

I Couldn't Keep it to Myself. . .

I love drama!  But let's be clear, I love drama in the novels I read and up on the silverscreen, but I do not want to live drama.  In fact, I would much rather prefer to live drama-free, but as we all know the big 'D' has a way of worming its way into our everyday lives.  What can you do--it's a little thing called life.
Knowing life the way I've come to learn about it, one thing that really heats a story up is when someone has a secret and it's your job as the investigator, or reader, if you will, to find the hidden clues and put the pieces of the puzzle together.  A real Sherlock Holmes type of affair.  I love to figure complex stories out and watch all the drama unfold like taking a piece of balled up paper uncurling it and trying to get the wrinkles out.  The mere thought of a great mystery sends tingles down my spine.  Reading will do that for ya.
It's one thing when a character you're reading about has a secret and it's discovered, or they have a secret and another character is trying to figure out what it is, but when secrets in the real world are kept or revealed, that's a whole other ball of wax.  I've found that most people claim they can keep a secret, but more often than not, most of us can't.  Sure, you pinky swear never to tell if the person who is the current secret holder is ready to spill his guts, but as soon as you learn of what that secret is, it literally kills you not to share it with someone else.  Secrets are contagious.  They are like a disease that continues to manifest itself and takes hold of your inner soul, and once released, it continues to grow and latches hold of another's soul. 
There are some secrets an individual may possess that should stay with the current keeper and take to his grave.  Especially if those secrets are something that will cause great detriment to another or hurt their feelings so terribly, that the secret holder wishes he had kept those things to himself.  Secrets are like one of my favorite songs, The Gambler, wherein the lyrics it says, you got to know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em, know when to walk away, know when to run!  Yep, secrets should be handled just the way a gambler handles his cards.  Some secrets should remain just that--a secret.
Take for instance two couples who frequently hang out together and really enjoy being in each other's company.  One day, you're at home doing some house choirs and someone knocks on the door.  You go to answer and discover it's your girlfriend's husband.  You don't think anything of this because you all hang together a couple nights a week, so you let him in, only to discover he makes a pass at you.  Now this creates a very sticky situation.  Not only does this make you extremely uncomfortable, but you quickly diffuse the situation and tell this guy that under no certain circumstances are you about to cheat on your husband, and how wrong is that to do this to his own wife.  You ask this guy to leave, he does so feeling defeated for having misread signals he thought you were sending his way, and apologizes and says it will never happen again.  Ok, so what do you do?  Do you tell your husband what this man did?  Do you tell your girlfriend what her husband tried to do?  Or do you keep this to yourself and pray it never happens again?
Already going in you know if you reveal this to your husband this situation is going to escalate.  You won't be hanging out with this lovely couple anymore, and your husband may confront him and one thing leads to another and one could end up hurt or worse, dead, and now you have no husband, no friends, and your man ends up in jail, you lose everything you've built in your marriage.  If you truly handled the situation, your girlfriend's husband should never try that again, and you all could move forward and chock it up as an unfortunate occurrence.  Besides only two of you know what really happened, and if no one got hurt, is it worth telling this secret knowing the many outcomes that secret may have?
Secrets, as you clearly see, can be dangerous and very tricky depending on how you deal with them.  Here's another example:  You're working at the office.  You have on a very nice spring dress showcasing your lovely figure and one of your male coworkers comments and says how nice you look today.  That's simple enough, right?  No harm done, correct? 
Later through the day, you're standing at your desk and this same male coworker walks over to you and decides to pat you on the behind.  Please keep in mind, he's married, as are you, and in the workplace, no one should be putting their hands on anyone in that manner because that is sexual harassment.  You turn to face your coworker and tell him if he ever does that again, you will file charges against him.  His face flushes and he puts his hands up in a defensive manner to say he was sorry, he didn't know what came over him and promises he will never do that again and apologizes.  So what do you do?  Do you file charges against him anyway, even though you clearly gave him a pass?  Since there were no witnesses, you know going in it will be your word against his.  Do you go home and tell your husband what this coworker did?  Again, by telling him, you know this situation has the potential to escalate.  You could lose your job, cause a whole lot of tension in the workplace, and stress yourself to the point that makes you wonder was this really worth telling?
You see what I mean about secrets and why the lyrics to The Gambler always come to mind.  How do you know when to keep secrets and when to tell them?  I suppose it's up to the secret holder and how the situation directly impacts you.  With secrets, you truly have to weigh everything in.  You can't leave anything out when weighing the outcomes of what your telling a secret could have. 
But what about little things such as one of your girlfriends said something very unfavorable about another girlfriend.  You're caught in the middle because you're friends with both of them.  Knowing what the one girlfriend said, do you then turn around and share with the other, what you know?  Again, you already know how this situation can quickly escalate.  There are going to be some hurt feelings from both sides.  Because number one, you told the other girlfriend what you promised the other you wouldn't tell.  And number two, the one that you told is hurt because she realizes the both of you were talking about her behind her back.  Talk about drama in its truest form! 
Everyone is a secret holder.  We all are privy to things that we don't want another to know, but somehow, end up spilling our guts anyway.  But a word of caution, knowing what secrets you may or may not be keeping, think about the song The Gambler when facing that heavy decision on telling something that might have best been kept to yourself.  There are some things not worth telling--they just aren't.  Just because you've been entrusted with information, doesn't necessarily mean you need to go and shout it from the rooftops.  Let the drama unfold in your mind when you feel the urge to release a secret.  If what you imagine is downright horrible, nine times out of ten, that's exactly what will happen.  Ask yourself, is it worth telling?  If you can live with the end results, then I suppose you made the right decision.
Kimberly Ranee Hicks, Author/Poet
Some things are better left Unsaid!