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Scheherazade in Blue Jeans
freelance alchemist
Secret vs. Private 
8th-Oct-2014 10:53 am
Hearth
The night I kittened, I was talking to a friend about my current friend-with-benefits, who I've been calling The Major-General on Twitter (because he's played that role twice). I've made the decision to not name him here or anywhere online for Various Reasons, but it isn't A Secret that we have something going on; anyone who sees us interact in person knows, though they tend to assume we're dating. I get a lot of sidelong "How long have you guys been an item?" when he goes to get another drink or whatever.

And my friend said "Yes! It's the difference between secret and private!"

And I was like YES.

I mean, I have a bunch of reasons, such as my exes have actually had people call the places of work of people who don't support them unquestioningly, and have done various and sundry other creepinesses, so I don't want to expose anyone to that.

But it is actually a big huge deal to me to be able to be private.

Judah was a spotlight person, and that meant a lot of our relationship was pretty public. The aftermath was MASSIVELY public, given that I needed word spread that he was a rapist... and my exes, Michael in particular, were massively performative when it was public that we were dating, but before we went public, it was a huge secret I dare not tell. So. Living with an unwanted spotlight on one side and Big Secrets on the other. Whiplash. And being forced to be so public about everything since Judah...

It was, at first, just a delicious little non-harmful secret when I started up with the Major-General. Just "I know a happy-making thing no one else knows!"

And then it became "...I don't have to tell anyone."

The only people who need to know who I'm schtupping are Adam and Mat. I don't have to tell anyone else. The only people he has to tell are the other people he's schtupping. (And, uh, his housemates are aware, oops. We mostly hook up at my place now.) And he's not super performative anyway, so that works out really well for both of us.

Secrets feel toxic to me; they have since I was a kid. This isn't a secret. This is the first chance I've had in years to be private.

And I am taking it and loving it. <3 There is an unexpected freedom there.

(If you know who I'm talking about - and if you've been to a party we've both been at, you almost certainly do - please don't ID him in comments. I am totally fine with you knowing, but it is really nice to not have strangers all up in my business!)
Comments 
(Deleted comment)
8th-Oct-2014 03:21 pm (UTC)
You know, the process of arriving at a nickname was super interesting! Because I asked him what he'd like to be called. My first instincts were other things altogether, but asking him gave him the opportunity to self-define, and offered a window into how he sees himself and which things are most core to his identity.

We narrowed it down to parts he's played. His original suggestion was too specific - only one production of the show in the Boston area in the last howeverlong, therefore too easy to ID him. Penzance was long enough ago and is performed all the time.

Plus he's justifiably proud of the vocal range involved!
(Deleted comment)
8th-Oct-2014 10:38 pm (UTC)
He could have been a model.

Or Jason Carter.
8th-Oct-2014 03:42 pm (UTC)
In recovery-speak, "We are as sick as our secrets." Which doesn't mean everyone has to know everything.
8th-Oct-2014 03:43 pm (UTC)
Yes. Very happy to not have any of those kinds of secrets right now.
9th-Oct-2014 01:42 pm (UTC)
Yes, you summed it up perfectly!
(Deleted comment)
8th-Oct-2014 07:44 pm (UTC)
Thank you for the words. They were helpful.
8th-Oct-2014 09:52 pm (UTC)
Glad they helped!
8th-Oct-2014 08:02 pm (UTC)
:D
8th-Oct-2014 09:53 pm (UTC)
That is the :D of a woman who knows things! :)
9th-Oct-2014 07:54 am (UTC)
This is a lovely example of the difference between secret and private.
9th-Oct-2014 02:28 pm (UTC)
You probably know I'm a pretty private person. I get this.
9th-Oct-2014 04:42 pm (UTC)
Yes, yes, yes.

I usually summarize the distinction as "private is when I choose not to tell people. Secret is when I'm scared to tell people."
10th-Oct-2014 01:18 am (UTC)
*nods* I spent too much time hiding. Now, I'm savoring.
10th-Oct-2014 11:15 am (UTC)
Ah, the wonders of being a celebrity! I bet you don't think of yourself with that word on a regular basis, do you? But yet, you pretty much are, in certain circles. You are Teh Awesome, and I and many others very much enjoy that you share that awesomeness with us peons on a regular basis. ;) But yeah, take the private and enjoy the hell out of it. Sharing your life with the world the way you do doesn't *obligate* you to share *all* of it. We love you anyway. ^_^

Hell, you know what prompted me to come check out LJ for the first time in ages? I had Teh Awesome SEX last night and I wanted to babble about it. *giggle* I'm not actually going to, but for the first time in a while I had the urge to just go post on LJ, because that sort of thing just wouldn't fit on my FB feed. *heh* And then I popped on LJ this morning to send happy birthdays to archanglrobriel and...yeah, it's snowballed. I'm reading friend pages right now instead of playing FB games which is how I usually spend my wake-up time. Weirdness.
12th-Oct-2014 01:40 am (UTC)
I've got similar issues with secrets. Hate them. Hate them so much I often go overboard in the other direction. And learning that it was OKAY to keep some things private - share with only who and when I wanted to - was a huge thing. Also learning that keeping confidences wasn't the same as keeping secrets. It feels all very complex when you're coming from a childhood perspective of "secrets hurt me! now nothing will ever be hidden again as protection!" But yea, it's okay to have privacy. It's okay to share as much or as little about yourself as you desire to. That's pretty cool huh??
12th-Oct-2014 02:53 pm (UTC)
So exactly ALL of this.
13th-Oct-2014 11:30 pm (UTC)
Whatever works for you and them!

P.S. There is a male name in this post that I could see no context for (but my memory is so awful so I may just have forgotten the name) and so I wonder if you have named the Major-General by mistake? I have not named the name in this comment and so, if that is what happened, you can edit the post and people will be none the wiser!
13th-Oct-2014 11:31 pm (UTC)
Mat? That's ashlyme...
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