Friday, July 22, 2011


Humans are by nature secret keepers. I know in my heart this is true. We keep malignant, benign, funny, and even stupid secrets, and we keep them out of fear or even the belief that keeping them protects us. But I'm a firm believer that if we can probe into a secret and understand its roots, we can understand ourselves much better.

I confess my own secret is this: I have always wanted to steal someone's boyfriend. Or husband. Or someone entirely unavailable or uninterested. I have wanted to lure someone into abandoning someone else for me. I have wanted to wreck homes and break relationships and smatter them into a million pieces. This is brutal honesty.

A long time ago, when I was a teenager, I was accused of having succeeded in this when one of my best friends and her boyfriend called it quits. Then, it had never crossed my mind. But it awoke in me that thought that maybe, because she seemed convinced that I was capable, I was capable of doing this.

I know I want this just once because it would signal to me that I am enough. It would assure me that I have the power to enchant. It has nothing to do with love itself and everything to do with having the power to ensnare. It's a brooding feeling that lies deep in my gut, the dark side of my being that never quite breaks the surface. It's something I will never act on, yet it lies coiled dormant.

It has surfaced this week because of a certain gentleman I see every day who is highly unavailable, sometimes it surfaces with people whom I've known for a long time but whose head I know I will never turn. It's the glimmer of a dream that one day someone will wake up and say "Goddammit, I missed out," or "I let her get away," and regret it for good. It's the evil vixen within me who wants to smash hearts like crystal.

And I know where it comes from.

It comes from being six and having freshly divorced parents. And having your father leave your mother for another woman. It comes from hating that other woman because she hated you even though she never said it but you could feel it in her look and in her touch, even though you did nothing to deserve her hatred except exist. It comes from not understanding why that other woman could possibly be so cold to you but so warm to your father and feeling like hugging you was simply obliging your dad's wish that you could all get along. Form a fake family of sorts.

It comes from the feeling of abandonment that you weren't good enough for that father to want to stay, the notion that she was too powerful and too ensnaring, that she was more than you were.

It comes from being sixteen and holding in this secret about her for the time when you'd be ready and be an adult and could confess such complex sentiments--feelings too much to put in words for a little girl who couldn't quite understand them--to your dad, but then realizing it was too little too late, because your time with dad was up. Fini.

It comes from the darkness deep inside this twisted little heart that fears that her relationship to her father and her past will poison any romantic relationship she might ever have in the future, so she finds it somehow better to keep herself out of the muck that is love.

I am a secret keeper, and I know humans keep secrets. These are some of mine.

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