Where Secrets Are Art

Every Sunday I read PostSecret. (PostSecret is an ongoing community art project where people mail in their secrets anonymously on one side of a homemade postcard.) I have been a fan of it for many years. I used to save the ones that I really liked but computers crash and I’ve lost most of them. However, there’s one I saw a very, very long time ago which has always been stuck in my head. I find myself thinking of it often. Too often. I’ve looked for it but haven’t been able to find it again. I can only guess at its meaning. It gives me the impression of a lie told, of trust broken, of an unforgivable secret kept. But I haven’t been able to understand exactly what it meant or what the sender wanted to convey. That’s usually the case with the secrets posted there; many of them are open to interpretation. I don’t know why I cannot forget it. It was in the form of a poem written on the cover of a Dr. Seuss book, The Cat in the Hat. The sender, evidently, had kissed it with lipstick on. And the secret went,

And you’d never forgive me
If you were to know
What really did happen
That night two weeks ago.

I had made a promise
Of what I would not do
But I did it to him…
Then I did it to you.

All images here are from postsecret.com.


That melody there will make you happy, they say.
I am, I tell them, thank you for the advice.
You don’t understand, they insist. Listen, for goodness’ sake!
To what?
Are you ignorant? You know what we mean, and all that jazz.
Maybe someday. Maybe not. Who knows?
Now is the time! You’re not getting younger. Time’s flying by…
I commend them on that brilliant observation.
You’ll wonder where they’ve gone, the years! The years! Hark–The clock’s ticking!
That’s just my heart, I inform them, but it’s a most reassuring sound, indeed, yes.
Your heart’s not as young anymore and you should find it another beat.
It is free to catch another beat, another rhythm, of its own accord.
And what if it doesn’t because you didn’t care to find the orchestra and write a symphony?
Well, then it’ll have to make its own music, won’t it?
It’ll be just the one instrument by itself. That should worry you.
It doesn’t, I assure them, I believe it is possible for solos to be quite enchanting.

Read the Sign, Kid.

When you run into so many of them that life seems to be but a series of coincidences, you tend to stop believing in that term. It becomes so commonplace that it isn’t really a coincidence anymore. Experiences and events are interwoven with threads of synchronicity. They appear to be connected in a deeper, or, if you wish, simply less superficial, manner.

I never cease to be amazed at the way in which my choices intersect at distant points in the future. For instance, at my last job I met a person whom I had a chance to interact with and discover that they had founded an institute which offers a variety of interesting resources to help people achieve significant changes in their lives by developing a better understanding of how the human mind and its underlying processes work. I was intrigued by it but did not delve into it too much. I did not speak to the person about this again but, for some reason, I never forgot that encounter.

A few years later, I crossed paths with a wonderful lady who, to my great delight, shared my enthusiasm for dreams and helped me with some of my dark and confusing ones. One of my dreams actually took me on a tour of my own mind, introduced me to different facets of myself, and I found parts I didn’t like very much that I, then, could work on changing. I was greatly surprised to find, some time later, that she was directly connected with the institute I had found so interesting and that she knew the person I spoken with that day quite well. It was such a strange coincidence that it seemed almost like it was a message to me, telling me this was meant to happen as a result of the choices I was making. Strangely, I felt that it meant I was on the right path. Choices I had made that led me to that person and then to her were the correct ones. I certainly concede that what’s right and what’s wrong is highly subjective, but I felt that if there was a path charted out for me (by me, of course…but that’s a different story) I was on it.

A few weeks ago, in Dolce’s training class we met a mini Dachshund who was born on the same day as him. In their classes, these two are the only ones who behave like kindred spirits. The Dachshund is a little shy and Dolce gives her her space. He respects her boundaries while inviting her to play and that is helping her open up a little more. We keep commenting on what a coincidence it is that they have the same birthday, are in the same training class, and get along so very well. What compelled me to write about this today is that I found out that the Dachshund’s owner and I are born exactly a week apart. Was that part of the reasons she was drawn to that particular puppy while I was drawn to the one I picked? Maybe it’s as simple as that. Maybe it isn’t. There may not necessarily be a reason behind us meeting, but it has definitely made the experience more meaningful.

I wasn’t on the search for these coincidences. I wasn’t looking to figure out whether I’m on the right path or not, that isn’t part of a conscious thought process with me. I happened to run into these meaningful discoveries and they made me stop and think. You can look at these synchronous occurrences and play them off lightly, nonchalantly, like they mean nothing. Or you can choose to look at them as those roadsigns that subtly tell you, whatever you’ve been doing, whether you’ve taken detours, missed exits, or gone around roadblocks or crashed into them, you haven’t lost your way yet.

Time-less People

This popped out at me a while ago, but now I’ve really had enough. It was a close friend’s birthday and, as I saw her Facebook “Wall” fill up with birthday greetings, I knew the odds were that I’d inevitably see this one. And I did. It said, “HBD.” According to me, this is not an appropriate birthday greeting. In case you weren’t aware, that’s how some people wish others on birthdays these days. Are they really that lazy? It’s confounding. Are they unable to make time, just an extra second or two, to spell out “Happy birthday” now? I mean, seriously, would it kill them to type a few more letters? Would those extra keystrokes leave their fingers paralysed?

HBD?! Are they wishing the other person for the heck of it? Just because? It means nothing. It’s just for show and it’s obvious that the person writing it is simply fulfilling a social obligation. Clearly, they don’t mean it and couldn’t care less about the wish. Why else would they try to be done with it as quickly as possible? Does that come with a rock wrapped in silver paper? I’m not saying they need to write a message worth a greeting card, a simple “Happy birthday” suffices. Isn’t that short and generic enough? Why the need to summarise it further, abbreviate it, and turn it into a joke? Why don’t they just save that microsecond it took them to write “HBD” and use it to say “Shame on me!” instead? Or maybe they’d like to abbreviate that to SOM first.

If somebody does this to me, I’m going to reply with TY…if I don’t have a brain aneurysm first.


Lovers & Haters

It’s a great day to use as an excuse to celebrate love, but the hype that surrounds it is almost on par with that around New Year’s Eve. There’s too much pressure on making this day special. It’s almost like no matter what else you’ve done the rest of the year, if you fail someone on this day it’s the only one that counts.

And it has become too in-your-face, too commercialised, manufactured. By the time it actually rolls around, it’s on display everywhere. I don’t want to have to see hearts at every corner and I don’t want to see a profusion of red (or pink) or life-sized teddy bears. Everyone knows  it’s Valentine’s Day–unless they’re living in a little hole and haven’t been outside it in many, many years. We all know that it’s coming up and we know what it means. There’s no need to drench everything in the colour people think represents love. You know what else red looks like? Blood. It’s the colour you’d see if you chanced upon the crime scene created by a movie villain brandishing chainsaws. And pink looks like your insides. A pink balloon looks like your stomach and your tongue and the flesh underneath the epidermis.

But that’s not the worst. It’s not bad at all compared to the anti-Valentine’s Day camp that takes the giant heart on top of the cake (and slashes it to smithereens). By all means, celebrate Valentine’s Day if you like and if you don’t, you’re free to ignore it. If you’re in a wonderful relationship, celebrate your love with your significant other. If you’re happily unattached, celebrate your singlehood, by yourself, with people you love, friends, family. But don’t take it to an obsessive level.  There’s no need to have a “Down With Love” protest. It’s almost like you’re outraged that other people would dare acknowledge the existence of such a day when you’re so obviously painfully single. Maybe you should use the alone time you have on this day to work on sorting out your issues instead of spending your energies on spreading your bitter anti-love sentiment. (I actually saw someone change their profile picture to one that says “I Hate Valentine’s Day.” Um, who cares?) If you really hate the day, keep it to yourself, will you? No one likes a negativity-spewing complainer–and if there’s someone who does, that’s a whole other set of issues.

With that being said, here’s a little something I chanced upon that you can surprise your significant other with: Egg in the Basket. Yes, I know it’s heart-shaped, but it’s such a personal and sweet gesture. Now excuse me while I step aside and gag because I just walked by a store called Hallmark.

I would kill for wit like hers. Kill! Okay, maybe just gravely wound.

Deidra Alexander's Blog

I have an arch nemesis at work. Yes, I have an arch nemesis, no I do not feel lucky.

I dodged a bullet a few days ago. The Demoness stood in front of me flipping through her wedding invitations. A cold chill ran through me, probably the Angel of Death, her buddy, dancing on my grave.

My mind was reeling. I don’t know what you get the Guardian of the Gates of Hell for a wedding present. Can you go with coal and switches? Or should your gift be more traditional, like hellfire and brimstone?

Then she said, “Oh, I forgot I only invited my friends.”

To which I replied, “Wow, guess you only needed one stamp.”

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A person I love upset me greatly and I gave in to Facebook’s “unfriend” option. I went ahead and removed them from my “Friend List”. I did not block them so that they could still see my activity on mutual friends’ walls. Oh, the wonders of the subconscious mind.

Now, I never accept friend requests on Facbeook from people I don’t personally know or haven’t met, but there’s a guy I’ve had on my “Friend List” for a few years and I don’t know why. We’ve never met and have no mutual friends. The only thing we have in common is that we went to the same university and graduated the same year. There isn’t much else. We started talking a few months ago: I gave in to his “pokes” and Facebook messages and finally responded. Either he was charming or I was foolish (most likely the latter). After talking for a few weeks, and me not encouraging “after-hours talk”, he disappeared into the blue. Made plans to go on a date with me and disappeared. Wouldn’t send me messages or call me anymore. When I messaged him to make sure everything was okay, he didn’t respond. I still did the polite thing and told him that since he was nowhere to be found I was going to assume the dinner plan was off. No word from him.

Three months later (I haven’t counted, that’s the figure he keeps mentioning.), he came back on the scene and started messaging me again, apologising for the vanishing act, wanting to talk. He was busy, he told me. Stuck in a land without the Internet, computers and phones? I wondered. (The gullible side of me always gives in and once more allowed him to make plans to meet me and, again, he disappeared. I’ve seen the pattern and next time I’ll predict it. No, wait, there won’t be a next time. That‘s the other lesson I’ve got to learn! But I digress…) While talking to him he asked me if I was upset about his disappearance. I thought about it. “No,” I said.
“Why not?” asked he.
“I don’t know. I just didn’t care.”
“Oh come on, you must’ve felt bad.” Almost as if that was why he did it.
“Nope, I didn’t. The thought of removing you off my Facebook crossed my mind, but I didn’t.”
“Oh! Because you knew you wanted to talk to me!”
“No…that’s not it.”
“That is it! Or why didn’t you delete me?”
And so I thought about that. And I realised it was because I really did not care enough about his behaviour. It did not make a difference to me and I didn’t feel moved enough to want to do something about it. I just did not care. It wasn’t important at all to me.

How quick was I to do that to a person close to me! I was wounded and I wanted them to know it. I knew they would notice it (…that’s why I didn’t block them) and I knew they wouldn’t like it. And, I’m sure, that’s why I did it. Not because I didn’t want to see their profile and not because I didn’t want to let them see mine. I did it simply because I knew it would hurt. Childish and immature, I know, but that’s what I did.

Ironic, I find it, that a person whose presence is extremely important in my life would be hurt on purpose by me and a person whose absence would barely be noticed is allowed to get away scot-free. Now, there’s a discrepancy that needs some fixing. Wouldn’t you agree?

P.S. Have you noticed how when you unblock someone on Facebook you cannot block them again for 48 hours? I think Facebook needs a similar policy for “unfriending” so that it is taken a little more seriously. I understand, of course, that it’s supposed to be just a social network, but I think we can all agree that it is more than just that. Maybe once you “unfriend” somebody you shouldn’t be able to add them back for a year. That’d make us all think twice before clicking haphazardly.