Thursday, March 4, 2010

The Costs of Secrecy

I received a message through skype earlier today and it got me thinking about how secrets affect our lives every day. Keeping secrets can be good sometimes, however, what are the side effects of doing so? Are they benign or do they work like a cancer on our very soul, eating away at who and what we believe ourselves to be?

I will attempt to examine this in some detail without completely boring you, my reader, or sounding as if I was coming to this topic in a victim mentality. When I was younger I recall doing things that I knew were against the rules or "taboo". I also remember well how I felt while keeping the secret bottled up inside. And, yes, there are some secrets that remain so today and are just better left in that little place we call the "skeleton closet".

I remember well the knots that welled up within my stomach, that wrenching feeling deep down that told me that I really knew that there could be hell to pay when it was discovered what I had done. Of course, looking back now, I fully realize just how trivial keeping the secret really was, and that keeping the secret really only made me sick and very on edge. Generally when the truth came out, discipline was swift and the pain generally subsided. I also now recall how much relief was there after it was out in the open and dealt with.

How many men and women have had adulterous affairs? And of those, how many of those people became mentally and physically ill from keeping the affair a secret? Most come into the light of day eventually and the damage is already done. Not unlike my example of a child hiding a secret, the physical and mental toll it takes is the same. It makes one edgy, knots well up in the stomach, and it is what will eventually end in divorce. In this situation why is it so difficult to just say "the marriage has issues" or the "marriage is in trouble" and deal with it prior to getting into that situation of lies and deceit?

This one leads back to my opening comment about the skype message I received. I grew up Mormon and made the transition to Wicca and that is already known. What I hadn't really stated prior was this. I kept it a secret how I felt and what I believed for many years. I knew what I believed but out of fear of retribution and ridicule, I kept it bottled up and it was like a time bomb. I always felt incomplete, unfulfilled and generally felt that I was being watched by everyone......although that was not, in fact, the reality of the situation. I functioned this way for years and when i finally "came out", while there was some of the ridicule and retribution, it was nowhere near at the level I predicted it would be.

I have been participating in a rating and comment group for business. We write articles, make blog posts, and make videos and then comment and rate one an-others work. At first I began by making them all about marketing concepts and how to self brand......all of the while hiding who I was "deep down". The knots began to well up and I felt again incomplete as a businessman and something had to give. I was always on edge, muscles tense, headaches and all of the usual side effects. And happened. An awakening of sorts. Why not mix my deep seeded faith AND my business?

Seemed like a great idea at the time so I went with it. Needless to say I am still "with it". So how does this come into play within this article? I had been hiding who I truly was and when I came out about it and began making videos about Wiccan products and Wiccan things......I suddenly received fewer ratings and fewer comments. I received comments on my Facebook profile about "what happened to you?" What happened WAS me and shall remain. I felt relief.

The comment sent to my skype this morning said,"If I'm being honest - the Wiccan Stuff isn't my bag either Nathan. I do my best to eat the chicken and spit out the bones in my interactions with EVERYONE. But some of the stuff on those sites (Images More than anything) are a bit against the grain. I would work on building YOU - rather than the Wiccan Beliefs. You'll get A LOT bigger audience!

While this comment is true, I would still not be ME in doing that very thing, and my Wiccan beliefs govern everything else in my life. To this individual I sent the response that I appreciated his opinion, however. ME and my Wiccan beliefs are one in the same. It would be like any other faith in business not being their faith while they are doing business. It would be a secret and therein a lie! Feels good to be ME instead of what others expect and the secret being out has made life so much more simple. Cost me friends? Not many, and those that decided to stop rating and commenting were never friends to begin with in the grand scheme of things. Life goes on in peace and business. Well, I am still here and still doing business.....just without the stress of "the secret".

Another big one, and one I encountered often, both as a paramedic and a religious leader, is premarital/teen pregnancy. This secret is a biggie and does so much damage mentally, physically, and spiritually, that I would be remiss if I did not address this secret and the aftermath here in this article. The fact of the matter is that some teens, regardless of religious upbringing, will engage in pre-marital sex. Of those some of the young women will become pregnant. The teachings within many faiths make this very taboo.

So what is the effect? For women that I have spoken to that have been in this situation it is very heavy to pack the weight of this secret around. They feel ashamed (although they shouldn't as nature happens), they feel that they have let their parents down or even let themselves down and that takes a tremendous amount of energy, physical and mental, in order to maintain the secret. They compound the morning sickness by holding the secret in and the knots and the vomiting associated with morning sickness, compounded by the lie, become excruciating.

Depression is not uncommon from what I have seen and many times these young women will seek counsel from religious leaders. Now this can be stressful as well because by sharing the secret with clergy, will the clergy divulge this "secret" to their parents who are generally also of this faith? And what then will be the resulting consequences of this decision? You can see the paradox involved here. Many will become depressed, some suicidal, and all over something, that while not necessarily planned, can be dealt with in an adult and loving manner.

I have seen many young women involved in a premarital pregnancy that have not kept the secret, and the results are never as grave as had the secret been kept. While some parents "freak out" and many actually go against their faith and try to convince the teen to abort, the majority do not and eventually accept the reality of the situation and again take on the role of loving and supportive parent. Secrets do damage my friends. Some damage even causes the loss of lives when in fact it shouldn't.

My question then is this. Do we keep secrets? Of course we do. However, at some point we must cease harboring secrets in order for us to truly be who we are and who we were meant to be. Ultimately it really doesn't matter what everyone else thinks, but what we ourselves think, and when we can accept responsibility for our own actions, behaviors and choices, how wonderful life can be. Life isn't always easy. life isn't always without stress and pain and all of the other human emotions that make us who and what we are. However, secrets make us DIFFERENT than who we really are and we must think about what the cost benefit ratio will be if we decide to keep a deep dark skeleton in that closet.

Be who and what you are. The God/Goddess didn't make junk, nor does deity intend for you to be miserable in order to placate or bow to the wishes of everyone else. We are all here for this short period of time we call life. We need to learn the lessons we are meant to learn, however they may present themselves, and act upon them for the benefit of ourselves and those we love and care about. I urge you to purge the negative influences of all of those secrets that you hold deep down inside and feel the freedom of just being proud of who and what you are as a fellow human being. In the end you will respect yourself much more and those around you, that truly care about you, will have more respect FOR you as well.

Until next time my friends, be kind to yourself, be honest and true to your nature and brightest blessings to you always. As always you may reach me privately by email at

Nathan Jeffery

Author-Business and Religious Leader

Nathan Jeffery has been Wiccan for 19 years and remains outspoken about bringing his faith into the public awareness. Not for ridicule or degredation, but for the proud people who also just happen to practice this faith as he does, without secrecy or shame.

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Kierstin's Ramblings said...

This is an awesome post. I think you approached it well and made your point clear in a very good way. ^_^ I agree with you too. Being you is all you should be. No one else is better qualified.

Wiccan Things said...

Thank you Kierstin and point made! I appreciate your insight and comments. Brightest blessings. )0(

Ron and Laura Perkins said...

Great Job man Right on point.

Arlen Madsen said...

Great post! stay true to who you are!

Wiccan Things said...

Thank you all for your continued support and kind words. Speaking on behalf of myself and the Wiccan community at large I thank you! Brightest blessings to you all.
Nathan )0(

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