"Ronald loves his neighbor, Shelly! Pass it on!"
"Psst... Ronald loves his neighbor, Shelly! Pass it on!"
"Hey, Ronald loves his neighbor's jelly!"
"Uhh... Ronald's gloves are... at his neighbors... and smelly?"
"Erm, Ronald's gloves miss his neighbor's - what? Belly? That doesn't make any sense..."
Remember playing telephone? The game where you whispered a sentence from one person to the other and the kid on the end had to say it aloud? Things were often pretty different by the end...
The game was silly, but its message was not. Gossip and story telling tends to change with each person it reaches. Maybe the first couple people have it right, but news tends to twist after a while.
Hello, rumours and miscommunication.
Sometimes it's not so innocent, though. Oh, no. Some people (who do NOT make sense whatsoever to me) find some sort of sick joy in causing other people misery. Maybe you kissed a boy at a party and after some whispering and a certain amount of time, maybe a few weeks, it gets back to you that you slept with the guy. And not just him, turns out you've been pretty busy, if you catch my drift.
But that's not true, is it? Somewhere in the grapevine, someone messed it up. And now you're the one who has to bare the consequences. Great.
In the childhood game of telephone, the mistakes just caused giggles. In real life, the results can be much, much worse. In place of laughter, there are tears, fights, maybe some revenge... and someone's likely to come out of it emotionally scarred as though a feline used their face as a scratching post.
That, my friends, is what I hated most about high school. I heard some utter rubbish about myself. I don't know if stuff got misinterpreted or if someone just originally made it up for some reason unknown to me. If the latter is the case, then that person or group is just as childish as the second grade girls playing telephone at recess.
When daydreaming, writing a story, or playing an innocent game of telephone, making changes to reality is perfectly acceptable (often encouraged, even), but when someone takes it upon themselves to spread lies (purposely vindictive or not) someone else can end up seriously, emotionally (or physically, if your rumours somehow involve the school thug. Or the mafia. Or me. Just kidding about that last part. Or am I?) hurt.
Not so okay...
I don't know when (or if, actually), in the process of living, learning and growing up, people finally learn that "don't tell anyone" actually means don't tell anyone. You confide in someone, and that person seems to think it's okay to tell just one other person, as long as they say "I'm not supposed to tell anyone, so please don't say anything..." But then THAT person tells JUST ONE MORE and so on... one gossip-filled domino knocking over another... and BAM! All of a sudden, you're a skank. Or a cheat. Or a liar, thief, inconsiderate ass, absolute maniac, etcetera.
Is sharing your secret or opinion to someone worth the risk of it getting out to more people, possibly in a jumbled form? Maybe it is. Maybe it's worth it to see who in our lives is trustworthy. It's just too bad that the outcome can sometimes be more severe than a few kids messing up a thought and turning it in to a nonsense sentence.
For the record, Postsecret is a wonderful way to get your secrets out in to the world in an anonymous fashion, so you don't have to worry about it coming back to you and biting you in the bum. Or you could start a journal (as long as you have a top secret hiding place, of course). Or even email KimBerlyn at AwkwardConfessions@gmail.com. Your secrets are always safe with us.