Double Life: What It's Like To Hide a Huge Secret From The World

by Sheena Sharma

I have a huge secret, and only I know it. I haven't told anyone what it is. But now the whole world -- or at least anyone reading this article -- knows I have a massive secret.

My secret makes me live a double life. I am not proud of this. My shame is the very reason I haven’t broadcasted it.

We like telling people about our victories so that we can celebrate in good company. But we don’t like to tell them about our slip-ups. If we do let them in, it's only in the hope that we’ll create strong support systems for ourselves.

It’s not that I don’t want to disclose my secret. I’d like to tell someone -- anyone! But the severity of the secret is paralyzing. It makes me turn into myself when I wish I could be enjoying the gifts of the world.

Everyone has secrets; that’s what makes us interesting. Mystery is exciting. But some secrets are bigger than others. Some secrets are so engulfing that they keep us prisoner, and they have no plan to hand over the key.

My secret has kept me from getting too close to anyone, and my secret has made me afraid to fall in love.

I don't tell my secret because I'm worried about society. Society points fingers and laughs. It tells us that if we’ve stepped in something muddy and misshapen, we are ultimately broken and cannot be fixed. It tells us that we don’t deserve to be fixed.

There are some things in life that are okay to conceal -- little things, that is -- and then there are the things that kill us if we try to conceal them. These are the big things. They grow into monsters that bring us into the depths.

A big secret isn’t meant to stay a secret for long. And if it does stay that way, it tears us apart.

Everyone seems fine on the outside. Even the toughest skin looks unmarked. The scariest part of it all is the past can feel like it has no place in the present.

But what if the past took control of your present? What if the past haunted you everywhere you went? What if something unexpected happened to you and forever changed how you see the world?

It can happen to anyone. The most surprising secrets are the ones that come from the mouths of the people we see as bulletproof.

Often, we're more torn up over the things we couldn’t have controlled. I've lived with the “Why Me?” syndrome: “Why did this happen to me?” loops in my head on repeat.

"Secrets, secrets are no fun" makes sense here. Because of my secret, I fill my schedule with shady activities.

I’ve gotten good at safely locking away my secret. But I’m not so sure that it's a skill worth bragging about. Keeping a secret takes its toll.

You are your own worst enemy.

You constantly wrestle with the thought of revealing your secret.

On the one hand, telling it to certain people (like ones who accept me) would be freeing. But turning secrets into words can tarnish a reputation. People will judge.

The anxiety of ruminating on what my secret could cost me is probably far worse than the secret itself.

You become unsure of your worth.

No one legitimizes the validity of your secret. Because of this, you forget what you're worth. Does what happened to me make me deserving of good things? Am I a bad person or just a good person who went through a bad thing?

It’s so easy to confuse the two, but they are not one and the same. Experiencing unfortunate events doesn't make us bad people; it just makes us unfortunate.

But it still messes with your head.

You forget you're not alone.

Everyone is hiding something from someone -- even the person who wears her heart on her sleeve. But I sometimes wonder if everyone is hiding something from everyone else.

Maybe some people are simply better at hiding in plain sight. Maybe some people are strong enough to not let the heavy weight of the secret weigh them down. Maybe some people simply don’t live with binding, debilitating mysteries-to-be-solved.

I suppose there's no way of knowing, is there?

You wonder if forgiving is really forgetting.

One day, I will have to forgive myself. Forgiveness will mean telling others my story and accepting that what happened to me isn’t the be-all and end-all. Life goes on.

I will find the way to let go of my past in order to fully enjoy my future. Bad things happen to good people, and the good people will bear the burden of wondering how to erase the track marks from their records.

Time gives us the power to forgive -- that I know. What I don’t know is if time will ever be enough to make us forget.