Sunday, November 4, 2007
sHiNglEs aNd sEcrEtS...
I found out last week that I have shingles. I have three spots on my face and a sore on my eyelid, but if I keep my bangs hanging just so...carefully apply coverup to my face...and apply my eye makeup just right...no one can tell. I just have to control the intensely overwhelming urge to scratch my scalp and leave my itchy eyebrows alone. If I put on a smile and wear a confident expression...I can go out and no one can tell that I have shingles. No one can tell that I feel ugly...that some days I have literally wanted to tear at my head and face until they bleed because they itch so bad. No one knows that I get random shooting pains on different parts of my head...or that when I do give in to the urge to scratch...it doesn't feel better or bring relief...it just hurts. I think it is so interesting that I can walk around suffering and sick and people can think that I am fine...even those closest to me. It is not because they don't care...it is because I only show people what I want them to see...and when I want to be...I am very good at hiding the way I feel.
I recently came across a blog called "POSTSECRET". I think I might be the last person alive to discover this project, but when I did...I was amazed...disturbed...comforted...and fascinated all at the same time. For years, people from all over the country have been mailing anonymous, homemade postcards with their secrets written on them to an address as part of an ongoing "community art project". Some are silly...some are gross...some are thought provoking...some are sad...many are heart breaking. They are not for young viewers...that is for sure. I read and I laugh. I read and I'm scared. I read and I think. I read and I cry...I cry for strangers...and I cry for me...for the person I am...and the girl that I once was.
I think that what has made the "POSTSECRET" project so successful...so engaging...is that we can all relate, because we all have secrets. We have all been sick...in one way or another. We have all been hurt...and created hurt. We've all done things we wished we hadn't or that we don't tell anyone...things that we didn't realize could change us forever. We all have desires...good desires...and desires that we know we shouldn't have. I'm not sure I could muster the courage to mail off my secrets for the world to see. The thought of having my most private dreams...my most painful memories exposed...put on display...is scary. It's scary because it's anonymous to everyone...everyone except me. I would always wonder what if...fear being recognized...feel vulnerable; naked in front of millions...worry that those people that I care the most about would see me differently if they knew how I really feel sometimes...if they knew my secrets. So, I cover them up with a smile...give people the answers they want rather than the real ones...and try my best to keep my secrets hidden.
Reading other people's "secrets" has made me realize that I am not alone. I am not alone in my suffering or in my ability to keep a secret. It has made me think twice about the way I judge people or react to people based on what I see externally, because sometimes a person can be suffering in the worst way and hide it with a smile. I wonder how many people I walk by everyday that might have a secret or be suffering in a way that I will never know...in a way that is hidden...hidden like the itchy, painful spots on my face.
Posted by MC at 9:29 PM