I’ve been writing fairly in depth profiles for all the characters in my novel lately, because while most of them have been in development for over a decade, I’d never been especially deliberate about them, and I thought it’d be a good exercise to catch any gaps. Also it’s kind of fun.
One of the prompts I’m using is their deepest, darkest secret. For most of the characters this is fairly easy; there’s something they’ve seen, something they’ve done, that they’re not ready to share with anyone. But for my main protagonist, it’s not so clear cut. She doesn’t really have any secrets. There’s not one distinct thing she’s unwilling to tell. Maybe all she’s hiding is that she’s scared.
Coincidentally, I spent a couple of days on TikTok before I thought better of it again, and one TikTok asked me to tell my deepest, darkest secret. The one I like to break out for this sort of occasion is the time I peed myself and blamed it on a squirrel, but the truth is I don’t have any deep, dark secrets either.
…Or fucking do I?
I started thinking about it in terms of what I’m willing to disclose on this blog. Because I disclose a lot of things on this blog. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but that’s kind of the point. I push myself to reveal uncomfortable things, in an effort to pursue authenticity and integrity in my everyday life. If I own it here, it makes it easier to own everywhere.
There are lots of things I don’t disclose for concern about violating other people’s privacy. But where’s the line for my own privacy? What’s the thing I do not want to tell you? What’s the thing I dance around telling you because, as much as I don’t want to tell you, I do, so very much, want to tell you?
There is a thing – the truest thing I’ve ever known – that has been shown not to be true. But the secret is this: I still believe it.