Friday, June 9, 2017

"[Not So] Secret Lives"

"[Not So] Secret Lives"
by St. deVille

"I went to an open house last night that was a grand party in a really cool modern building that came about after a fire near the railroad tracks a few blocks from our flat. There, I ran into a couple of women that I have known around town for years. One, a mother with a small child, spoke to me about public school and questioning the direction of her career life; the other mentioned the time I accidentally came in contact with a dear secret of hers that I was not supposed to know that arose in me a deep empathy. Since time has passed she was able to laugh about it: "Well, I guess everyone knowing each others' secrets keeps us honest," she said.

Having these conversations reminded me of how I often forget that we are all walking around hiding secrets and sadness and confusion, and what a stellar job we all do at putting on a party face! It's a simple concept, really, a true Philosophy 101 thing, that here we are all housed within the soft sheathes of our bodies operating under the assumption of separateness yet undeniably connected to each other. In fact I heard my voice in my friends' voices at the party- the concern about a child, and personal choices, and being unclear about what the "right" move is. The awkward acknowledgement of a stumbled-upon secret with a laugh as though she were saying, "This is how we are all connected!"  

We tell stories and let loose secrets (our own and otherwise), and have awkward moments, and share drinks at parties and notice each other aging and our shoes, our wine stained teeth- we struggle to offer up advice or something, digging for the way to say I would love to honor your words with great advice- but the truth is that I have no idea what you should do, I have no real idea what I am doing in fact, but I do think we are all going to make it through this (whatever it is), and if one of us doesn't I will cry real tears for that because we were all in it together.  

These moments reassure me. Even the awkward ones, the interrupted party talk, the things unsaid. They reassure me because they remind me that despite the posturing of some, so many of us are still ready to be vulnerable in a crowded room above the noise: 
"I'm just a human, I said! 
And there is no shame in that.”

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