Holding It In

This past weekend I had a conversation with a friend. During our conversation I told her something about myself that only two other people on this planet know about me. A secret that I’ve held guarded under lock and key for as long I can remember. I don’t know what made me tell her. I didn’t come to some epiphany. It just sort of came out. This may seem commonplace to some but I was bewildered how someone as secretive and closed off as I am came to this juncture.

Perhaps saying that I’m secretive is the wrong word to use. That implies that I’m uncommunicative and button-lipped. I think I’m more candid than that. I believe that I have two very distinct sides. On one side I’m well-liked which would make one think that I’m automatically a people person. I am for the most part. I get along with most people I cross paths with. The other side of me which very few people are privy to is recluse and modest. Sometimes I wonder if its healthy having such opposing personalities. I’ve been told that its unhealthy keeping issues bottled up and not finding some type of outlet. I have a couple of issues with trusting others with my most sacred secrets.

Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and tear you. Matthew 7:6  This is not to say that those I would entrust my business would be careless with that information… actually that’s exactly what I’m saying. Not everyone will tell your business but the second a secret leaves your lips there is a chance of a ripple effect and that report traveling faster than you could ever imagine.

“It took me a long time not to judge myself through someone else’s eyes” ~Sally Field Sometimes I obsess over how others view me. I know the cool thing to say would be “I don’t care what other’s think about me” but most people are lying through their teeth when they utter those remarks. Me? I care. A lot of times I try to put forth my best self at all times trying  to not show any chinks in my armor. I’m afraid of  what people would think of me if I were barefaced and unconcealed.

So for the past couple of days I’ve been thinking. I want to work on opening myself up more and being honest about my past and a lot of secrets I’ve held so close for so long. At the same time I don’t know if I’m ready to just tell one person certain details about myself. Currently I am reading Black Boy, the autobiography of Richard Wright, and I had a fleeting thought which became a full fledged idea. I want to write about my life. At this point its not anything that I would share with anyone but I think I want to put it all out there even if only for my own consumption. I don’t really know how I’m going to go about it or how far I will get but its something that I want to at least try.

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43 thoughts on “Holding It In

  1. gemmieboo

    i too care about what people think of me. but for whatever reason that has never really stopped me from sharing. granted, there are certain things that i dont share with many ppl or share publicly (via my blog), but im generally an open book.

    if its not you, dont force it. but i do appreciate when you share personal things about yourself (here or in comments sections) for the sake of discussion and growth. it helps me, for one, feel more connected to ppl who are similar to me (black, scientists, etc) and i can learn a thing or two.

    i would def read a book about you 😉

    Reply
      1. gemmieboo

        LOL! i feel you!!! it is a fine line. i try to tell my story without using too many specifics about the other ppl involved (unless its key to the story) so they dont feel like theyre being put on front street. and other times i just tell my family/friends that im going to write about them and give them to opportunity to protest.

  2. That Damn African

    Yeah…..pretty much all this.

    I too wouldn’t call myself secretive per say, but (very) cautious as to who I tell my personal things to. This is partly out of fear of the vulnerability that it brings and partly out of my own philosophy that everybody doesn’t need to know everything. I deal with a lot of stuff on my own, which like you said, isn’t the most healthy way to do things. I’d love to be less guarded, and my blog is one place that helped me do that. I’ve actually been thinking about doing a post recently about some stuff that I’ve been dealing with, but that fear of being vulnerable crept back in. Now I might go ahead and write it soon…

    Reply
  3. SimplyMeRenee

    Great great post. I completely feel you. I grew up extremely secretive, because I was taught that “what happens at home stays at home”. I got to college and realized that what happened at home helped to great the person that I’d become. In order for people close to me to understand, they had to know a few of those deep dark secrets.
    These days, I’m more open about the things that I was terrified to share as a child, but still have a secretive side. I think it’s how I share secrets. I have to communicate in forms that I’m most comfortable using.

    Reply
    1. madscientist7 Post author

      “what happens at home stays at home”

      having african parents i was told this time and time again. my parents were big on not doing or telling anything that would embarrass the family. it didn’t matter if it was a friend, extended family, guidance counselor or teacher. perhaps that had a lot to do with the way i am now.

      Reply
  4. nianaturally

    Nice post.

    Secrets… yeah, I have a few. And I prefer to keep them secrets. I am not an open book. I can be a people person when I want to, but I prefer the company of only a few. And even those few aren’t privy to everything going on with me. I remember when I told one of my best friends about a time when I was really depressed, and generally upset with life. He was shocked because I never showed it, and a little disappointed because I never came to him. I care about what people think about me, and to a certain extent, I try not to show any chinks in my armor. I share when I think my story my help another, but I usually keep things to myself. I prefer it that way.

    Unfortunately, vulnerability doesn’t come naturally for me. So, you won’t see me writing any books about my life.

    Reply
  5. max

    Wow Tunde. Maybe there is something to this whole birthday twin business because I also recently told someone a secret that almost no one knows about me.
    I too have that dual personality of seeming like this very blase, open, forthcoming person while actually being intensely secretive about the things that are important to me. And i also think sometimes that I need to be more open with the truth about myself, and that I’d like to write my true life story.
    But for now I’m still too scared. I’m glad I told what I did, but still – telling someone my secrets means I expect them to be careful with them, and treat them with the respect and the reverence that I do and I just don’t trust most people to do that.

    Reply
  6. Jubilance

    I care about what the ppl close to me think of me. I don’t want them to be disappointed or stop loving me because of something I’ve done. It’s easy for me to not GAF abt what strangers think of me, they have no clue who I am & that’s not personal.

    Figuring out that balance of who to share with & how much is always tricky.

    Reply
  7. MsEvaHoney

    Wonderful post. I think everyone cares what others think of them. The problem is some people (like me) begin to let that dictate who they really are. writing that piece on Gem’s blog was incredibly hard. Those are things I had never told anyone. I cried as I wrote it, cried for 2 days after it was posted. . I am usually am a person that is secretive, but writing that has helped me open more and I feel so much better. I am putting my best foot forward as me and not my representative. Being transparent is not for everyone, but if you think you should open up more, you probably should!

    Good luck *hugs*

    Reply
    1. madscientist7 Post author

      you’re post on gem’s blog really hit home for me. it was raw and emotional. i really appreciated your courage. gem’s blog is actually one of my favorites for that reason.

      Reply
  8. Me

    I knew it! You f*cked Mia!

    Just kidding.

    I used to care immensely what other people thought. Now? Screw them. I’m 30. Being 100% me may have cost me some friends/followers/whatever, but I have no regrets. I just wish I’d done this sooner.

    Good luck on your book. Do me a favor, though: if, by any chance, my name comes up, speak only good things about me. 🙂 lol

    Reply
    1. madscientist7 Post author

      yea i’m 30 as well but i still don’t know if i’m to the point of just not caring. and if you do make the book (which isn’t likely because its going to be centered more towards birth to college) i’d only speak what i know which isn’t too bad. 😉

      Reply
  9. Euphoric Ears

    I open up to only a select few. I’m the oldest, and I’m used to having to be strong for my family…so alot of the times, I choose to suffer in silence. I feel like that if I open it up, it’ll be a burden to the listener…and I don’t want that. Or perhaps it may cause “drama” and that’s definitely not what I’m about.

    I wouldn’t say that I’m secretive, but I definitely don’t talk much. When I say that I mean, that there’s been a number of times a friend or family member will tell me something…and it turns out I already know. Sometimes they get upset, but I just keep things to myself. I’m not doing it to be secretive or sneaky.

    I write in my journal, not as often as I would like…but I do. However, I haven’t really discussed things that happened growing up. I’ve had a few conversations with my BFF and honestly, she and one other person know about certain things.

    I suppose I can give people the impression that I’m “Ms. Popular”. I definitely like to have fun, get along w/ most people and have a ton of interests. But there’s a flip side to me that doesn’t mind being alone, and can be very guarded if I’m in an environment where I don’t feel too comfortable.

    Reply
    1. madscientist7 Post author

      i thought about a journal but that seemed a little effeminate to me. i think a pseudo autobiography would fit better. often times, especially lately i’ve preferred my solitude to the point my roommate actually thought i was mad at her. 😦

      Reply
  10. Reecie

    you should definitely put it in writing. you know I am very much the same way (outgoing yet guarded) so I totally get that, but I do agree that you need to not keep things bottled up. if writing is a way to let go, by all means do that. Especially for your own consumption. ((Hugs))

    Reply
  11. CaliGirlED

    How in the world did you actually posted this thought on this day??? I am struggling right now with this same issue. I can be a social butterfly and on the other hand be as guarded as Fort Knox. It’s so bad that I’m trying to convince myself to (even told myself this morning that I AM GOING TO) start journaling. I mean my God, am I afraid that someone else will read it, or that I MYSELF will?

    Can’t believe you posted this!!!

    Reply
  12. msbluejacket99

    i usually don’t comment but thought i should in my new spirit of sharing. like a lot of commenters today, i’ve struggled with this issue as well. i’m the middle child of 3 girls all of whom have done well but i have done extremely well. brightest, kindest, sweetest, no kids having one of the bunch. and i felt i had to maintain that. but then something happened involving my little sister and i tried so hard to keep it in. because that’s what i’m used to doing. staying strong, overcoming, and prevailing in the face of adversity, though i never let any one ever saw the adversity. but keeping this particular thang in almost broke me, it was so emotional but I tried to keep it inside because as you said: “A lot of times I try to put forth my best self at all times trying to not show any chinks in my armor. I’m afraid of what people would think of me if I were barefaced and unconcealed.”

    when i finally let it out and talked to my close friends and my sister about it she said that she felt i was so strong, that nothing bothered me, that i had no weaknesses. in that moment i realized that my holding things in was the worse thing i could do. then the next morning i saw a post by rick warren that made me rethink my standard practice of keeping things in. “While we think we encourage other people with our strength, it’s often those things we want to keep hidden that speak to them.”
    http://www.gospelmusicbites.com/2011/10/25/gospel-music-bites-word-of-the-day-a-mission-you-need-to-accept/

    while i won’t be opening the floodgates any time soon, this post has made me reevaluate why i keep my shortcomings, failures, and trials in. i’m understanding that those help people more than a perfect story.

    Reply
  13. madscientist7 Post author

    thank you for sharing. thanks for sharing that link. i’ll check it out after i type this reply. i remember the first time i told someone one of my particularly darker secrets. i felt like the biggest load was lifted off of my shoulders. i had no idea how much a burden i was carrying until i let someone else in.

    Reply
  14. A Woman's Eyes

    I’m glad you lifted that burden off of yourself because I know how freeing it is to free ourselves in that way. Of course a person has to be worth that level of trust. Being able to trust the person who earned it is gold. I like reading your blog & I think writing helps certain people to free themselves from burdens.

    Reply
  15. La Grâce Personnifié (@FostersBaby)

    okay so here goes.

    usually i think and think again about what it is i want to post. then i usually scrap that, and think again.

    i find myself struggling because people always think i have things ‘together’, which is usually contrary to how i am feeling. most days, i swear, i don’t know if i am coming or going. some of the hardships i endure regularly are a direct result of some bad choices i made. the other hardships i endure are just an unfortunate by-product of being an adult.

    and then . . . .

    there are those things that i frequently recall, things that have happened to me that i REFUSE to talk about. those things that have shaken me emotionally, and caused me to rethink my being. some of those things have made me look outside myself for acceptance and validity. i cannot bring myself to talk about those things with anyone. i’m fairly certain that if i were to talk about those things with someone i would experience some kind of cleansing. i’m just too afraid. afraid that my confession will have a serious ripple effect on the ones i love. afraid that my life as I know it will be permanently altered. afraid that I won’t be able to view myself in the same way. until then, i guess I’ll just blog about how brave I wish I was, and how afraid I wish I wasn’t.

    Reply
  16. BP

    What an open and honest post. I think that sharing about what is going on in our lives is one of the healthiest things we can do. I have shared in the blogosphere (many times) that I see a therapist. With seeing her I have been able to now open up to my best friends and those that I love. Life is hard and I truly feel like our pain (and our happiness) is to be expressed with those we trust and love. It helps us overcome. What is interesting I can always tell when someone has had a rough childhood or been through something tragic. We often show it in way we are unaware of. I know I did. When my thoughts overwhelm me I keep a journal and I pray which always helps as well. It is a process. Thanks for sharing Tu!!!

    Reply
    1. madscientist7 Post author

      “What is interesting I can always tell when someone has had a rough childhood or been through something tragic. We often show it in way we are unaware of.”

      i never thought about that. now you’re going to have me thinking even more. hmmmm

      Reply
  17. Muze

    interesting.

    i kind of think of myself as an open book, but people that i’ve been close to tell me the opposite. “onion” i believe, was the term. i think it’s only human to guard secrets close to your heart. after all that’s what make them secrets. lol. it’s entirely possible to be a people person and even extreme extrovert, and have a side that only select few, if anyone, knows. as you see in your comments, you aren’t alone.

    there are things i’ve only told to one or two people in life. and these things were relatively recent. sometimes the knowledge of something about you is so precious or so potentially hurtful that it’s only meant for someone whom you know will also guard it.

    good post.

    Reply
    1. madscientist7 Post author

      yep. onion is the term. many different layers. i believe the first time i heard that was in the first shrek movie. i could be wrong though. either way i believe that perfectly describes me as well.

      Reply
  18. The Suburban Thug

    You not by yourself in any of these things, or how u feel about them. I’ve had my closet friends tell me that I need to write a book about my life, but only because some of it was filled with much drama. Hopefully, you writing about and to yourself will be cathartic and give you the peace to allow others into your inner space.

    Reply
  19. Me

    I thought about publishing my journals, but that’s too many names to change to protect privacy, and shoot, after the first reference, they’ll know it’s them. Lawsuits galore. LOL!

    Still thinking about it…

    Reply
  20. Silent Scorpion

    I felt compelled to come out of hibernation for a bit to read and comment. Its interesting that you compare being well-liked and reclusive/modest as though they are polar opposite. I feel like displaying both sides won’t hinder your relationship with people and although you may not notice, people probably pick up on both sides pretty early on in getting to know you. Although you may not explicitly speak on your past, those who are around you enough know something is being buried. Hopefully you continue to build up enough trust with those around you to open up.

    It must be a lot of pressure to put forth this self that you think others need to see. What are you afraid that people will think if you are honest? Although I wouldn’t recommend opening up to everyone, I do feel that having people close to you as a release is important. It makes me wonder what was it about those two people you did share your secrets with that made you feel comfortable enough to share. Maybe you could look for those qualities in more people so that sharing in the future is fluid and not too forced.

    An autobiography is great start to opening yourself up. Maybe once you get all of your thoughts out you can begin to stop judging yourself. I think we are our own biggest critics. Its surprising to me how well a friend of mine took in some of my past once I did share it. It took years before I felt ready to be that vulnerable. It is all about putting yourself out there, but I do feel like people understand you better once you let them in. Its good that you are publicly acknowledging your issues. Kind of as a check and balance of sort. Because you’re right, once its out there, there’s no taking it back. I pray that you find peace in this journey and that you get out of it all that you need. Maybe I’ll take some of my own advice and open some of my locked doors as well. Because it truly is a struggle to put forth what you think people can handle when there is so much more.

    great post.

    Reply
    1. madscientist7 Post author

      those two people i opened up had nothing in common. the first time i opened up about the things i did it was because i had an emotional breakdown and it just came out. i don’t regret telling those people because so far they haven’t judged me but i wasn’t too sure when i told them.

      ” What are you afraid that people will think if you are honest?”

      i don’t think people will judge me. matter of fact i think the opposite. i hate for people to pity me or feel sorry for me. this is why i most times i prefer not to tell people my problems.

      Reply
      1. Silent Scorpion

        That’s good that you don’t regret telling them. Maybe you can take from those experiences that ability to share more with others. Even if you they have nothing in common besides the fact that they know you and you told them, that could be something in itself.

        Do you think people can feel empathy and not pity? I don’t think they are the same. Empathy is being able to recognize and share feelings that aren’t being personally experienced. Pity is when you feel sorry for an experience/person without actually trying to understand.

        I think when people care, they have a genuine desire to have those empathetic moments with you. They want to know the real you, most likely they won’t feel pity or judge you.

        Writing this is making me realize I should take some of my own advice. I have so many surface friendships right now. For me, I just don’t know where to begin. I never know when is the right time to drop the bombs that is my past. Perhaps there is no perfect time.

  21. A Woman's Eyes

    The thing is, we often underestimate people. What I mean by that is secrets leave us feeling alone, and afraid. By feeling alone, we may have a mistaken belief that we are the only person who has experienced the source of our secrets–we think we are the only one–then the next mistaken belief becomes that we must protect other people or protect ourselves from our secrets–when the truth is, many people have an amazing ability to empathize and there are many people who survived the same things that we are keeping a secret on surviving or experiencing. There are people who we share our secret with who may say “me too” or “I survived that too” and give us hope.

    We judge ourselves so harshly and think we have that much control over other people’s lives, reactions, beliefs when its the secret that is controlling us.

    I have experienced the after-effects of keeping secrets and revealing them. I can say that my life is freer, I am happier and open to people as a result of no longer having those deep dark secrets. The way it plays out is that even though I have experienced horrible things, I am not bitter. Just thankful I survived, thankful I can still laugh & enjoy life. And I used to be a person who was severely depressed who thought about suicide for years. And I had many many reasons to be in that dark place–I look back and instead of thinking “why was I…?” I think, “why not?”
    I am a survivor — and many of you are survivors.

    I wish each of you all of the beauty that life has to offer.

    Reply
  22. Up4Dsn

    Man! I can definitely relate. Most of my life I’ve been shy and reserved, but over the past few years I’ve been trying to come out of my shell and become more social. It’s been a challenge. By nature I’m just a very reserved person, but I am more than willing to open up to the people I feel closest to. At the same time, I’m not quick to share certain things about myself with certain people. Similar to what you said, once you put it out there, it’s no way to take it back. That’s why it is vital to know and trust the person you are telling those things too.

    I like the fact that you plan to write about yourself. I attempted to take a similar approach on my blog. I did a post sharing a few things about myself that my supporters didn’t know about me. Even after doing that, I sit and wonder how much should I share and what will be the result of me sharing it be.

    Great post Tunde. I really enjoyed it.

    Reply
  23. keishabrown

    i really liked this post.
    i think it is hard to straddle that fine line of not being fully immersed in this over-sharing world we live in.
    i think you are very reflective and have a good sense of self – so you’ll figure it out.

    i’m a big fan of writing and keeping it to yourself (or sharing with a select few) if that’s what you feel like you need to do.

    Reply
  24. African Mami

    Yes! I can relate to the nth power. I’m very SECRETIVE and GUARDED. Most of the people I am friends with tell me I’m weird cause I talk without ever revealing anything about myself but know so much about them. I relish secretive people….they could make for potential murderers but until then…we’ll have to wait and see.

    Reply
  25. Camille Anderson

    Write the book. That’s what I did. Since I was a kid I put a lot of my emotions and things I was dealing with in personal poetry. I saved much of it, added to it over the years along with short stories fiction and non-fiction. One day after going through a personal tragedy, I said what you said. I self published my book. I set up a website, had book signings, sold the book through 7 stores nationwide. It became a great small business for 3 1/2 years. More importantly, it was so cathartic. My family and friends were surprised at what I shared. There was a greater understanding and closeness from my opening up. I felt a huge weight lifted.

    The homeless youth group I was volunteering with at the time teaching a creative writing class was inspired. That was the greatest reward for me. I’m sure you’ve heard the saying “God gives us trials and tests us so we can one day share our testimony”. They read my book and knew that if I overcame the challenges I wrote about that they could also. I wouldn’t go as far as to say that I’m now an open book (no pun intended). Everyone is different. In everyday life share what I share when I feel it’s appropriate to those I trust with that information.

    My book is no longer available. I shut down the website and ended printing because I no longer felt the need to focus on that project or the period in my life that brought about the need for me to release all that I was keeping in. I’m free to focus other things now. Write you book to free yourself regardless of what others think.

    Camille

    Reply
  26. DblogEdition

    I think we has humans are very afraid and worried of what others might think of us when they know “the real” us. I’ll say it is not that intricate to decipher in this society we live that people tend to respect people they know less about. Weird huh? and another reason to sometimes hold on to secrets is that you can sometimes feel vulnerable when you relieve too much about yourself. Enjoying the blog!!!

    Reply

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