Secrets

“Imagine a world without secrets. A life without lies.” JSM

-Island Living-

Take a moment and think about lies and lying.

Not the trivial lies, such as fibbing or joking about what was purchased for a secret gift.

“Dad, I know you got something for my birthday.”

“No I didn’t. You have a birthday today? I thought that was next week!”

Not those fun little white lies, committed in playful jest to throw off a five year old from the scent. Or the special engagement you have planned for a loved one; the surprise you want hidden and secretive until the right moment. “Honey, where we going?”

“To Frank and Betty’s place to watch The Walking Dead. I told them we’d be there by eight for snacks and maybe a card game before.”

When in actuality Frank and Betty are helping cover for you, and you’re on the way to a nice restaurant and a romantic comedy at the local theater. The zombies can wait.

Not those lies.

I’m talking about the types of lies that ruin people.

Ponder for a second (or two if you want) how many lies you’ve encountered, heard about, or recall from personal memory. Was it a friend? A sibling, child, or other family member?  A respected authority figure? A spouse or significant other? A boss? A co-worker? Someone you trusted? A once reputable source? Perhaps even yourself… Do you lie?

Reflect on how many relationships, friendships, business arrangements, or marriages were obliterated, because of nothing more, than someone refusing to be truthful.

I had a friend once say to me, years and years ago, “I’m your friend, Jere. I got your back no matter what. You come to me for anything.”

“Anything?”

“Night, day, whenever-snow, sleet, freezing rain, tomorrow or five years from now. Doesn’t matter. You need me, I’m there.”

“You’re a good friend and I love you for it. Thank you.”

(Two years later, pacing across the floor of my apartment, chewing my nails, in need of a confidant)

“Hey, I’m in a bad way. I need someone to chat with. Can I come over, or can you come to me? It shouldn’t take long. I just need some advice on something and I don’t want to talk about it over the phone.”

(Brief pause) “Sorry. Gonna watch a hockey game with some pals. Rain check?”

“Go to Hell.” (click)

Yeah, I said it. We haven’t talked since. (sigh) It is what it is.

My past is filled with burned bridges and their ashes now spread across creation. I’ve raised the flames with blistering fury and in the hateful wake of my actions, I’ve tossed a crackling red hot ember, or two, on nearby bridges just to show everyone who I was. Let it smoulder for a time. See if it ignites. I’m big enough to admit I’ve had a temper tantrum or three in my time. Who hasn’t? Maybe my mid-life crisis? Who knows.

At least the friend was honest with me. No lies. I truly believed my buddy was about to watch a game with the buddies. My friend was busy and didn’t have time for me. My spiteful, friendship ending outburst derived from the initial statement. “I’m your friend, Jere…”

No. No you’re not.

Extreme? Oh, yes. Yes indeed. When it comes to friends and friendships, I don’t screw around.

However, while living from one extreme to another, the skin thickening and toughening up, walking around all self righteous with an anger filled heart, guarded against everything and everyone and distrustful of the world, the archaic procession of adapting to the consistently evolving universe around me, changed how I communicated with others. My filter was broken. I’d say the first thing that came to mind, and my mind wasn’t in the right place.

My frame of thinking was, “What do I have to lose? I can finally say everything I’ve always wanted to say.”

I know I’ve said it before… but it seems like a million years ago. So far away in the distant past it’s like it never happened.

Yet… it did.

Some of the things I’ve said to others I can never take back. Be careful with words, my friends. They are the ultimate weapon.

Lying is a close second.

I keep my circle tight now and I associate with only a few. It’s one of the final lingering demons still running around which I have difficulties purging. I know each of us, as individuals, have struggled with our own varying complications through life. My pain isn’t special. We’ve all had our own burdens to bear, trauma to deal with, problems, loss, issues and suffering. My pain is no more or less important than any one else who may be reading this. My trauma and past life experiences are not unique to the grand collective. But they’re mine.

I dealt with the demons in my own unorthodox and crazy style, and for some mysterious reason it ultimately served me well. I think. Yeah… quite well. I had some causalities and good people lost in the battle along the way, but I was victorious.

Yet, on the negative side of the spectrum as an unfortunate side effect, perhaps the curse of winning said battles, I now have challenges socially. I’m not as active on social media as I once was. Perhaps five, ten minutes a day now, if that?

Twitter? What the hell is a Twitter?

Just kidding. I created an account over a year ago, followed a few people and sites, and never returned. Maybe I should go back and look it over again. I don’t even remember what profile picture I used.

I’m so old.

Once upon a time I engaged in multiple forums and chats, and was active in various groups; sharing, liking, commenting, reading, tagging and providing my opinions and ideas. Not so much anymore.

I look at my email, check messages, notifications and tags, then turn it all off. I may scroll through a small section of followed sites before bed, try to complete at least one online activity, or have a brief chat with a friend through Messenger, but social media interactions have diminished over the years.

I apologize. Life gets busy.

It’s a double edged sword to be sure. I want to be socially active. I want to share success stories, memes, pictures and articles, engage in the old conversations, “like” everyone’s everything, follow it all and say happy birthday, but I don’t. I can’t. Not because I have selfish tendencies, far from it. I try…

I see life now as an hourglass with the sands of time trickling away. There’s literally not enough of what we perceive as time, in one day, to do all that needs or wants to be done. My hobbies and go-to-places occupy a great chunk of my free time and when I deviate from them, I can feel it.

Like a nicotine addiction. Almost unsettling, and I have to give in.

Living on the Island, changed me. The events on the Island, and afterwards when I had to jump in the ocean and swim the dangerous waters into uncharted territory, transformed my thinking, my coping mechanisms and habits. I am quite literally a different person. Those close to me see it as night and day. I am not the same man I was five years ago.

Sitting at my computer, roughly half way through the second month, I decided to do some research. Island living spawned an obsession to learn, explore and see what I’ve been lacking. How deep does the rabbit hole go? I seem to be missing something.

What I was missing, was missing from memory. I didn’t know what I wanted, but I know I wanted it. I needed my own secret. Other than my kiddos and my job, I almost frothed for something different. Something that was mine. Something out of my normal wheelhouse. Something complicated. I wanted answers, but in order to find those answers, I had to ignore some of what I had already known.

I needed to see the other side of the fence.

I wanted to explore what made the “dark side” so alluring. I didn’t want to be evil, but I wanted to understand it. I didn’t allow myself to invite it in. It just hovered on the outskirts of the property waiting for the right moment to make itself at home.

I thought for a long time on what it was I wanted to learn. You have the power of the world sitting under your fingertips. Go back through memory, pick something you’ve always wanted to understand but never got around to it.

So I did.

And I haven’t stopped.

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