“Tell me what you want to hear, something that will light those ears. Sick of all the insincere. I’m gonna give all my secrets away.” ~OneRepublic
They say that everyone wants to share them, that they’re more precious than gold, and in many ways they do fit the profile. I mean, secrets are a commodity to be bought and sold in this modern 21st century world of ours. With celebrities on every television station, in every magazine, on every website, and in every newsfeed, telling all their sordid stories, spilling all their secrets for the world to see.
Speaking of newsfeeds there are more than a few secrets pushing at those seams, from both true friends and true acquaintances alike. Apparently they believe everyone should know everything all the time, and they pride themselves on unburdening themselves liberally across newsfeeds and timelines alike, these substitute preachers on these digital street corners. They sit there, behind dusty screens, raging against the dying of the light.
Secrets aren’t what they used to be — things not meant to be shared, things kept in the corners of closets, collecting cobwebs. My mom used to always tell me that others didn’t always have to be privy to our secrets, that sharing everything with everyone wasn’t always the best policy. And I thought at the time it meant lying, but it just meant not to air your dirty laundry because people judge. And people haven’t stopped judging.
Now secrets are rich with backstories, and ripe for misunderstandings, so when they’re finally out there in the open they take wings and fly, but where they land might be far from where they were headed, and the natives won’t get the nuance of each one. You see, secrets should come with an instruction manual. A “friend” posts a rant about her husband, who she calls a deadbeat and a “waste of space,” and millions of minions jump on the bandwagon without knowing all the details. That’s how it goes anymore.
We give all of our secrets away these days, and you know that once they’re out there in the open anyone can interpret them any number of ways. You know that once they’re out of the cage they can’t be put back in again. They challenge us to accept them, to embrace them as another part of us, to press them into submission because there are no other alternatives. Airing dirty laundry is now the national pasttime, whether or not its our own dirty laundry we’re airing. And the smell is atrocious.