When I read this week’s topic I immediately thought of a particular secret from my high school years. It wasn’t my secret. It was the secret of a guy I went to high school with. I did the wrong thing with that secret. And I still really regret it. It was one of my unfinest hours.
Although our school was fairly tolerant in many ways, it was still on the northern beaches of Sydney. So there was racism, and misogyny, and homophobia. Enough homophobia that out of a year of 120 students, only two people came out during school. It was two girls, and they were a couple, or had briefly been involved at least, and when it came down to it, they didn’t really come out, as get outed and then have to deal with it. Lesbianism was seen as enough of a titillating novelty that they didn’t seem to get too hard a time, but maybe I just don’t know the whole story. I can think of at least three gay guys in our year, and none of them were out in high school.
A friend of mine was close friends with one of these guys, and told me his secret. Like a damn fool I told another friend of mine (justifying it by the fact that that friend of mine went to another school), and she told her friend who as it turns out knew a friend of his. There were three people who broke that trust, but he blamed me the most. Because I had “pretended to be someone who people could trust” when in actual fact I was an “evil horrible bitch”. He really told me what he thought of me. Over and over. Aaaah, high school. As my great grandmother said “I wouldn’t be young again if you paid me!”
For about a year after that whole episode I would look around nervously when I was at a pedestrian crossing. Feeling sure that this guy would run me down if he could.
It was such a breech. I’m still so ashamed. Why did I do it?! What haunted me most was the worry that I’d blabbed out of some deep seated homophobia within myself that I wasn’t aware of. I have a very active guilt complex. I saw a show once where this obsessive compulsive guy could never be near a pen for fear he would write a confession to a crime he didn’t commit. I totally got that guy on some level.
I’ve kind of resented secrets ever since.