January 24, 2020

To Anyone With a Big Secret – A Final Unapologetic Message

As you are now aware, I am in the process of sharing my final thoughts with the world, while I have the platform to do so, one message at a time.

Today’s message contains my final words and thoughts to those who are carrying around some sort of big secret.

Dear friends,

Almost everyone on Earth has at least one big secret they are carrying around, sometimes several. These secrets can run the entire gamut as secrets go.

I am going to share a few things I have learned about big secrets over the years, and then let’s talk about yours, whatever those secrets are.

First, I have learned that “big secret” is definitely a relative term. What one person might feel will be the end of them is something another person might celebrate.

As an example, I experienced occasional sexual attraction to men since I was eleven years old. I buried that secret. I pushed it away. I refused to acknowledge it. I was so sure that if I ever had to look at that secret dead in the eyes, it would be the end of my family acceptance, the end of my friendships, the end of my career, and the end of so much more. Obviously, none of that ended up being true, but that’s not the point. It was my “big secret” and it was a really big secret to me.

It was so big, in fact, that when the day came that I couldn’t run from it anymore, I did something drastic and almost killed myself to keep from ever going through the unfixable pain that “I just knew” was about to become a part of my life.

That is the nature of big secrets.

While some people easily embrace their attraction toward the same sex, and proudly flaunt it and enjoy being open about it, that same big secret for me became so big in my mind that it took up almost the entirety of my mind for a very long time. The fear of the future grew so great that it finally drowned out (literally) any hope.

I didn’t kill myself that day, obviously, but instead forced myself to confront it and come out to the world about it, and to survive, come what may.

Other people have “big secrets” and whether those secrets are big to you or me, they are big to whomever is holding onto them.

For some the secret is infidelity, for others it’s doubting their faith, for others it’s something they did that they are debilitatingly ashamed of from their youth. For some it’s the plan to leave a lover, for others it’s a hatred for a boss or colleague, for others it’s a terrible habit or a closet addiction they just can’t shake. For some it’s faking an illness, for other it is hiding an illness from the ones they love.

Sometimes a person’s “big secret” is as simple as faulting on their own morality and stealing a pack of gum. For others it could be as drastic as having raped or murdered.

I can’t possibly list out every big secret people might have, but it is important to realize that big secrets come in all shapes, forms, and sizes, and that it literally does not matter whether you and I think another person’s secrets are big or not. It doesn’t matter if we think other people should be worried about them or not. What matters is that big secrets are big and heavy to those who carry them around inside themselves like some tumor that is slowly becoming cancerous.

That does bring me the next thing I have learned, and that’s that big secrets are absolutely, without a doubt, cancerous to our well-being and constructive senses of self.

By definition, if a secret is a big secret to an individual, then that secret will fester and plant roots and grow for that person so long as they hold onto it. The secret will start to make that person define themself by their secret, instead of by every other good or healthy thing they do in life. That feeling will grow until people feel that the secret consumes them and then eventually it begins leaking out of them through every action they take.

Big secrets, when held onto long enough, become consuming to the mind even as they are buried and pushed out. They make people feel like any person at any time might discover the truth and push that truth out into the world.

They make each of us feel fraudulent and inauthentic to those with whom we build relationships.

So much mental effort is given to keep the secret buried and hidden, and to keep it from ever entering our thoughts, yet those secrets always have a way of bursting into our thoughts with authority in the moments we least want them present. They show up in times of intimacy. They should up during deep discussions or debates. They show up in our arguments. They show up as we try to teach our children.

Big secrets are burdensome at best and absolutely destructive or life ending at worst.

To truly thrive or be functional throughout your life, you cannot keep and hold onto those big secrets forever.

Which… Brings me to the last thing I have learned about big secrets, and that’s that getting rid of them is an incredible liberation that money or time cannot buy.

In my experience, there are two main and common reasons people hold onto big secrets for as long as they do. Either they are worried about losing people they care about, or they are worried about being judged eternally or having their secret define them forevermore with the people they love.

First of all, if your big secret is a betrayal to someone you care about, shouldn’t it be up to that person whether or not they let go of you? Shouldn’t that person get to decide just how deep their love or caring is for you? Shouldn’t that person get to decide if their love is bigger than the secret? It is their life, after all. It’s their future and their past. It’s their decision when they have been betrayed, not yours.

Second of all, do you really think you will be judged forevermore by the people who truly love you if you share your big secrets with them? Any time any person you love has shared a big secret, even if it pained you or hurt you, did you hold it above them forever? Did you make their life hell forever because of it? If not, then why do you think the people who love you would do that to you?

Look. Some big secrets, once revealed, can end friendships or relationships. They can estrange family. They absolutely can. I am not going to sit here today and try to convince you otherwise.

What I can tell you is that those same big secrets are already ending you and your friendships and relationships, in a much slower, more cancerous way. They are eating away at any real foundation for what you share with anyone. Secrets keep their holders from ever truly believing that trust and love are real. How can a person ever truly trust the love another person has for them if they believe that their secrets, AKA the truth, might negate the very trust and love they are trying so hard to hold onto?

If you are carrying around a big secret, and almost everyone of us is, I implore you to unburden yourself of it. Let the chips fall where they may, but unburden yourself and do it sooner than later. Doing so takes guts that you may think you don’t have, and it also brings that sweet liberation that can only come from unloading the burden you have been carrying around. Most importantly, it starts giving you true integrity to your personal relationships.

You don’t have to share your secrets with the entire world. Not everyone needs to know. In fact, very few people need to know most secrets, especially when the secret has nothing to do with anyone outside of those they may have affected. There is no additional glory or higher form of restitution that comes from castigating yourself for all to see. You don’t need to punish yourself and carry some cross through the crowds until you’re walking on bloody stumps.

I don’t know what your secrets are or what you need to do to finally unburden yourself of them. I can’t possibly know. I don’t know if you need to tell someone you have hurt or if you need to tell someone anonymously. All I know is that there is power in telling someone. There is power in sharing your secret so that you don’t feel like it’s bubbling and boiling inside of you constantly. There is power in cutting out the cancer so that it can’t spread or come back.

With how much I have written and shared over the past decade, and how many secrets I have publicly admitted, I assure you that there are some secrets I have that are mine and not meant for the entire world. I also assure you that I don’t have a single big secret left that I haven’t shared with someone because I know the power of getting rid of the cancer before it ever has the chance to potentially end me again.

Sharing your secrets may change the direction of your life. It may change the people who are in your life. It may change a lot of things in your life. It will probably do none of those things, which is the greatest liberation most people feel, but it could. Be brave, let the dust settles wherever it will, and most importantly free yourself of the burden that has weighed you down for so long now.

Most of your relationships will only get better. Most of them will feel more authentic and their foundations will just feel stronger.

Since almost everyone has big secrets, sharing those secrets has a way of making everyone else feel more human. It often has a way of making others accept you more, not less. It often has a way of making all of us feel less alone.

Sharing them will take courage.

Dig down deep and grab hold of that courage.

Free yourself.

Find yourself.

Finally be yourself.

Doesn’t the thought of being free of your big secrets once and for all just feel so… Nice?

I promise you, once life begins to flow and find its rhythm again, it will be a thousand times nicer than you can even imagine.

Dan Pearce | Dan Pearce Was Here (formerly Single Dad Laughing)