The intro to the fourth postsecret book talks a bit about what the artist, Frank, desires this sharing of secrets to initiate/fuel/accomplish.  It says that people tend to identify with postcards that they read – a string of the personal variety is gently tugged in them, requesting a stop at the next intersection.  We read the confessions of others and think, “yeah, me too…”

It didn’t take me past the second page of my new book to pause on an adult’s scratchy pen over a photograph of a  Haloweened little Batman-girl.  “I was only 5 the first time I compromised my beliefs in an attempt to impress a boy” 

I’ve always done that.  Surely at small ages like 5 and 7 and 9 and 11.  But also through high school and big time at 18.  And even after the new me at 20 and at 21, too.  It’s not always religious, we have beliefs and assumptions, a threshhold of preunderstandings that we kinda navigate life by.  I think I’ve bent and broken most of mine as I think through the years.  And I’m the product of this cycle that I imagine myself, 23, finally removed from.

In scores of shameless college visits to play soccer on scholarship, there was compromise to get me home.  After the longest game of red-or-black in that old house in Eastown, there was bloody, heartbreaking compromise pouring out the open window with every gust of wind.  It only takes a second to justify what he may mean.  And then, somehow, he just never does.  But the scars of compromise build their thick, smooth tissue over the consequences anyway.

Sure, I wish I could take some of it back, but my scars won’t leave my skin.  The change I can make lies in patterns. And my patterns don’t compromise like that anymore.

Advertisements