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Hump Day Hmm: Keeping secrets, telling lies

La Bocca della Verità (in English, "the Mouth of Truth") is a renowned image, carved from Pavonazzetto marble, of a man-like face and located in the portico of the church of Santa Maria in Cosmedin in Rome, Italy. The most famous characteristic of the Mouth is its role as a lie detector; since the Middle Ages, folklore has asserted that if one told a lie with his hand in the mouth of the sculpture, it would be bitten off. Source: Wikipedia, free license to distribute.

I've written four posts about this topic---I'm not kidding, and you'll know this because someday I might be in a bind and post a "variations on a theme of secrets and lies" series for a week, and you'll all be, "Umm, wow, wasn't that topic like so last week, Julie?" and "I'll say, yeah whatever, the old writer's block I claim I never get has kicked in, it and like it, or weep, either way, but leave comments because mama needs some good lovin' right now."---and all of them have been vastly different, and yet, true. Mostly. Still, none seemed right.

Version 1: In which I share, vaguely, a lot that I haven't shared in an example of the different sorts of secrets and lies we keep and why

Version 2: In which I try like crazy to put forth a sweet and sentimental anecdote to show my journey of self-discovery and evolution through finding a balance within what to keep and what to share.

Version 3: In which I depict secrets and lies I've kept and told, ones from other people, the repurcussions of all and what I've learned with a bonus on my theory of secrets and why people keep them.

Version 4: In which I discuss the difference between secrets and privacy, the application of each broadly and generally, with personal anecdotes thrown in, and my approach to when something ought to be kept secret versus not, including an easy to follow litmus test.

So. Dudes. I got nothing.

However, there is good news:

Other people wrote very movingly about this topic, so go see what they had to say.

Emily wrote Bathe Your Children Well

She also wrote Lies All Lies

Chani wrote Hide and Seek

Andrea wrote Digging

Sober Briquette wrote Taradiddle

copyright 2007 Julie Pippert


Christine said…
"Sharing a secret, keeping a secret, either way it's usually a burden on everyone. I think the pressure, anyway, is usually from the reason behind the secret, more than the secret itself."

I feel like this is so true. Recently I've been caught up in a weird conflict between two friends who are in some sort of weird war. People have been hurt and offended, and I am stuck right in the middle with that wad of gum you described stuck in my throat. They are both telling me these things that are "secret", but "not really." But to tell the truth would be so painful to the other parties. In many ways I feel used because both people know that I hate to hurt the other person and am always willing to listen. I hate all the secrets. I feel like just writing them both a long letter and laying out "she said this and she said that and now duke it out your selves." Too childish. But I feel so knotted up about it all. So SICK, literally over these secrets and lies and hurtful truths.


I should blog about it but it gets so muddled up in my head (can't you tell!?) and I'd hate for them to find the post. Hey now there is my OWN secret! I can't even tell anyone about my blog. Pathetic. I am realizing after reading this and Chani's post that secrets are about more than just "don't tell" things. Thy are about whole lives and the way we present our selves to others.

As usual heavy, thinky stuff. i love it. thanks for sharing yourself with us today.

Sorry i didn't take this hump day humm on myself, but that damn vison post jumped out of my head right to the keyboard!!!
Anonymous said…
This post has really got me thinking. My brother caused me and my children great distress last night. My husband is out of town and his business trip is going well. I won't tell him until he gets home because he will ruin his trip and come home. But I still don't want to tell him for three reasons 1)I don't want to be the cause of the hurt and anger he will feel 2) I did not know how to handle the situation so I made it worse- and so was equally responsible for making my children cry and 3) This will end any feelings he has for my brother who was on borrowed time as it was.

And know I've aired my dirty laundry and I feel I've betrayed the southern code.

"In general I think people keep secrets not for privacy but to avoid---avoid telling something shameful, avoid a problem they don't know how to handle, avoid a conflict they are afraid of, and so forth. It's usually a pretty bad idea, in my opinion/experience, to keep a secret."

So I at this very moment relate in a very real way to this passage.

Oh and this-"but leave comments because mama needs some good lovin' right now."--- LOL

Sorry for the long regurgitation.
thailandchani said…
In thinking about this, I realize that lying for socially political reasons is entirely different than lying to save face.

Seriously. This got me to thinking about that.

I'm very good about telling people that I don't want their secrets ~ not secrets about bad behavior. This is just something people know. I don't want the burden and I'm very blunt about it. If someone is cheating on their spouse (without agreement) or stealing from a friend, don't tell me. That's bad energy and I don't need it.

But I've gotten fairly good at recognizing when someone is lying to save face ~ whether it is denying something or presenting themselves in a way they think I want to see them.

Honestly, I don't have any preconceived notion of how I want to see someone.

I don't care that much. In the end, we're all just people, doing the best we can with what we have, and in that regard the lying is more an annoyance than anything else.

We really don't need to be doing it.

In the end, lying costs the liar much more than it costs anyone else so there is no forgiveness necessary from me.

Somewhat tangential but that's what came to mind.


Anonymous said…
I wrote one, too.

It's very secretive, appropriately enough. Unfortunately, the people most affected by the secrets I still keep read the blog. It makes it next to impossible, sometimes,to be honest about what's obsessing me.
S said…
Emily's post knocked me flat, and I've not been able to get up since.

Thanks for these links, Julie.
Lawyer Mama said…
Thanks for the links and please forgive me for not participating this week. Too much going on! I actually wrote the post I put up last night over the weekend because I knew this would be a bad week.
Julie Pippert said…
LM, NO SOUP FOR YOU! Back of the line!


I hope it's not really bad, just busy. And no worries.


SM, Emily did great, and you are welcome.


Andrea, yours rocked too. You guys have blown me away. Thanks!


Chani, are you distinguishing lying for gain from lying for protection? If I've understood correctly, yes, they are distinct, and make a difference in how I view it.

As to your second point, you don't prejudge or have preconceived notions that are detrimental. You keep an open mind.

I've noticed that some people sometimes don't. I am so vague b/c you know, it kind of depends on the person, moment in time, situation, etc.

I'm thinking about the rest.


Kim, sorry you had that distress. But I understand you holding it back. In my mind, that is logical, and shows consideration. It's not really keeping a secret---it's working with time. No apologies necessary b/c I don't think you betrayed anything and you know me and my affection for long comments. :)


Christine, what a tough position to be in. Man talk about bone between dogs. You know, blog about it, write it like a letter to them. Don't worry about muddled or writing for an audience, just write it for yourself. And then, you don't even have to post it. My blog folder is full of drafts LOL. I wish I had some sage wisdom to extend but this is one of those touchy situations, really dependent on the individuality I think. Good luck and a hug.
Anonymous said…
I agree with Chani -- lying is much more expensive for the liar than the lied to. Thanks for the links, Julie. NIce to see what others say on the same topic!

When do you post next week's topic? You know I love a good homework assignment!

Or did I just not see it? I am a bit bleary eyed tonight.
Julie Pippert said…
Err Emily you caught me out. LOL

I was hedging...planned to repost all the things fresh tomorrow or so along with idea for next week.

Which hasn't occurred to me yet.
thailandchani said…
Julie, lying for gain didn't even come into my mind. That behavior is so detestable that I recognize it (you know that little tone of voice people get when they're saying something from pure self interest?) and get away from it as soon as possible.

I meant lying for protection, lying because to tell the truth would be too revealing of the core self, lying to avoid alienating others and so on.

We all self-censor which is a form of lying by omission.

(And I'm not talking about "do these pants make me look fat" kind of stuff. That's just seeking validation.)

I'm talking about the truth about our lives that would make us vulnerable.

Thanks for the comment on my being open-minded. I really do try. Judgment of others based on external things is such a waste of energy. :)


Snoskred said…
I know I'm late, but better late than never huh? ;)

The Choices We Make

I'm off to read the other posts now. ;)
Unknown said…

I'm going to have to pass on this challenge. I have a friend's son with me for a day or two, plus vacation Bible school, blah, blah, blah. I'm looking forward to reading what the others have to say, though!
Gwen said…
The irony! :) That's the problem with talking about secrets is that it requires revelations of them and that defeats the whole secret keeping in the first place. And as much as "anonymity" is a lovely aspect of blogging, we all know there's no such thing. Sharing a secret in cyberspace is a dangerous thing.

I really enjoyed all the comments, and the other entries. I've added my own:

(too lazy to link that properly).
Sephyroth said…
Hi, I also wrote a (very long) entry about this:

Fear of Failure


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