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5 Jun

Psst… wanna hear a secret?

As regular visitors here know, I’ve struggled with the constraints of writing in a semi-public forum. How to write about experiences that have confused, angered or upset me, or left me in a state of anxiety, when such stories involve people who know about the blog? People who might read and be hurt, offended, or upset? How to write about the things that keep me awake at night, things that I really yearn to work out on the page, but that I’m afraid might reveal too much about me?

A couple of months back, I had a run-in with someone that left me frustrated and angry. This someone said some things about parents of babies that infuriated me. But I couldn’t write about it here. My antagonist knew about the blog, and I was afraid that writing about the incident would be hurtful. And that it might provoke a confrontation that I did not wish to have. So I wrote an Un-Rant, a rant about not being able to rant about the experience that I had had.

The Un-Rant helped a little. But not enough. (Also? Caused more problems than a plain old confrontation would have. Everyone thought that the post was about them. Frantic phone calls and e-mails from freaked-out friends and family members wondering what they had done. Fuck. Take it from me: ambiguous rants are trouble. Avoid.) So I started a second blog, a secret blog, with the intention of airing all of my issues without the constraints of self-censorship. A blog that I would tell no-one about. A private space; a room of my own. A place to write freely.

But it’s not really so private, because it’s part of my Blogger house. The door to that basement lair is clearly visible to anyone who crosses the welcome mat. Which is – and this is going to sound so twisted – sort of how I wanted it. I wanted other people to know about it, and to want to hang out there. My secret clubhouse! Where we can share secrets! Come on in!

Which defeated my own original purposes, but I’m messed up that way.

I set up this secret clubhouse, in which secrets would be shared and virtual cigarettes and liquor sneaked, and then left a trail of wine bottles for everyone to follow. Which means that my own secret-sharing would not be so secret. I would need to be circumspect about what secrets to share and how to share them. Which, I’ll say it again, defeats the purpose.

Or so I thought.

I can’t divulge my own secrets in my basement lair. But you can divulge yours there. If you want.

When I posted, the other week, about wanting to write freely – to get the shit out, to get the shit figured out, to get support – so many of you responded with resounding ‘OMG, me toos.’ So many of you said, in comments or in e-mails, that you’ve struggled with the desire and/or need to tell stories that you were reluctant or afraid to tell on your blogs. For the same reasons that I’ve been reluctant: because it would expose too much. Because the wrong person might read it. Because it would darken up an otherwise light and cheery space. Because you just don’t feel comfortable saying whatever it is that you’re yearning to say on the front porch of your blog home.

And then a very dear friend came right out and asked: can I borrow your secret lair? There’s a story that I’d like to tell, that I need to tell, but I can’t say it out in the bright light of day, where just anyone could hear…

Of course, I said. Of course. Come on down. It’s dark down there, but cozy. We can talk there.

So she’s there now, curled up in a virtual beanbag chair in her comfiest jammies, virtual drink in hand, ignoring the wood panelling and the velvet paint-by-numbers art and fading Tiger Beat posters (Duran Duran) and stale smell of basement while she tells her story. Please go have a listen. And share your thoughts, and hugs.

And then, if you want, tell your story. Use the secret lair to tell your secrets or your scary stories or the feelings that you just haven’t worked out fully enough to blog publicly about. Maybe you’ve got some funny stories that you just don’t want everyone to hear. Or maybe you just want to solicit feedback or support on something that is just too weird/icky/loaded to put on your blog (was anyone else afraid of shitting after giving birth? Of sex? Anyone else bleed for 6 weeks? Anyone else forget to buckle baby into car seat? Watch baby fall off bed? Anyone convinced that they’re irretrievably physically/emotionally/mentally messed up? The worst mother ever?)

Maybe you just want to chatter nonsensically about the latest gossip (Anna Nicole pregnant OMFG!) without cluttering up your own blog. Or maybe there’s something more serious that you want/need to work out on the page, something too dark or touchy or weird for public airing (I’m scared to take meds/not take meds/have another baby/not have another baby/think about my miscarriage/not think about my miscarriage/yell at my mother/not yell at my mother.) Or maybe you just want to bitch about your in-laws. (Which you of course would never do, because they are all delightful.)

I hereby declare the Secret Lair open to one and all. Anyone who wants to talk/share/story-tell/rant off-blog, this is the place. Come on in.

Scratch ‘Boys.’ Should read: No TARDS Allowed. Boys are fine, if they’re nice.

So this is now your secret, off-blog space, for sharing whatever you want to share but shouldn’t/couldn’t/won’t share in the bright light of your own blog. You can do it anonymously, pseudonymously or in your own name. If you want me to direct traffic to your ‘secret’ post from my main site, I’ll do that. I’ll link it up and talk it up and send people to the basement to hear your story. But if you want to just keep it to the lair, quiet-like, I’ll respect that too.

You can either send me your post via e-mail, or contact me for the log-in info and post it yourself (so long as you promise to log out!) I will never reveal the identity, blog or otherwise, of anyone who posts there, unless you want me too.

This will be our secret space. We’ll share secrets (who knows, I may drum up the nerve to adopt the veil of anonymity there and share my own secrets, too, finally!), raid the virtual liquor cabinet and talk late into the night, collapsing on the shag-carpeted floor in giggles and tears.

It’s cozy here. A good place for secrets. Striped giraffes tell no tales…