Secret – By Beth

29 Jul

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.

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6 Responses to “Secret – By Beth”

  1. Karen July 29, 2012 at 10:38 pm #

    It’s very hard to forgive yourself when you’ve been judged too harshly by someone who’s actively letting you know about it. After all, you know you did do something wrong (even if it was more understandable than they’re making out). I have been there 🙂

    • Beth July 30, 2012 at 5:13 am #

      Thanks Karen. After writing this, I surprised by how fresh my shame is about it. I’m going to try and let it go.

  2. Suzysiu July 30, 2012 at 4:24 am #

    Oh dear, this sounds like such a horrible memory :/ Looking at the bigger picture, is your friend now out and proud? Did your friendship survive or was this the end or did you drift apart after school?

    • Beth July 30, 2012 at 5:20 am #

      Suzy – He was never a good friend of mine, and after this whole incident we’ve never spoken again. I avoided him as much as possible for both our sakes. To be honest there was always something about him that I didn’t fully trust – a volatility. A gut instinct that I didn’t want to get close to him. Isn’t that ironic?

      He told his friend (who was a close friend of mine), and they were the one that told me. It was a good example of how some people just don’t get on, and he probably always felt the same about me – a gut instinct of not wanting to be close. I always wondered why he wasn’t more angry at the initial betrayer of the secret, but I guess he really liked them and didn’t want to blame them.

      LIFE LESSONS, hey.

      As far as I know he’s happy and out and proud. We saw each other on a train years ago and had a tentative conversation. My heart was beating like wildfire the whole time. I wish him well.

  3. Tabitha July 30, 2012 at 5:01 am #

    Well, I hold you in the highest esteem as a secret-keeper, Beth, so you have completely redeemed yourself. Unfortunately, being a teenager is all about making decisions that you’re ashamed of and mortified by for the rest of your life. Don’t make me go on again about how great it is to grow and learn etc.

    As for why you shared that secret, I think it’s because the kind of people who get told secrets are the kind of people who inspire trust, and these very same people usually inspire trust because they’re sharing-oriented types. And being in possession of a secret is agony for a sharing person! Ye olde Catch 22.

    • Beth July 30, 2012 at 5:24 am #

      There you go! I am now a pretty top notch secret keeper!

      I think I had no conception of what a big thing it was for him, and all the understandable fears he had for his own safety if he was outed.

      You gals are the best. Thank you for being interested and offering your kind words and advice.

      I’m going to try and let this one float up into the sky. All that shame isn’t performing any useful purpose now.

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