There are secrets and there are secrets. MrG is always amazed at the secrets women share with each other; "you told her that?!"
There are those secrets that we share with other women as an ice breaker when the chemistry just leads to stories pouring out - I remember being at a bar on holiday and mentioning something that had happened to me recently to a lady I had just met. In that unique female way, as soon as I had opened up to her, she shared something back with me. Within moments of meeting, after watching our children play together, we were talking openly about loss, difficulties of childbearing, and the joys and challenges of adopting. Pretty heavy stuff, but women seem to often be able to segue into talking about deep emotive issues far more quickly and easily than most guys.
I know this isn't always the norm. I also know I have a bit of a tendency to be an open book. This has become an issue a few times recently, when accused of expecting every one else to over share along with me. Of course it's not particularly comfortable if you open up and share a secret and get tumbleweed in return, but it's all about judging the situation and person. I don't go around pouring my heart out to everyone I meet, and probably keep a surprising amount to myself. And while I don't expect everyone to be an over sharer, or to want to share those secrets with me personally, I guess if I am completely honest I do struggle at times to understand certain secrets held back.
There are some secrets though that even an over sharer keeps schtum about. Like others'. If someone honours you with giving a nugget of themselves, it's a tiny thing to respectfully keep their secrets safe.
Speaking of safe, I am also trying to balance the idea of secrets and privacy with protecting my kids in this big bad world. In our house we tell Missy G that there are no secrets allowed. But it's a fine line to tread - I don't want to invade or make her feel that she needs to more fiercely protect her privacy and her space, the natural instinct as she gets older. I don't want to force her to tell us everything, I just want to somehow engender a space where she can tell us anything that she wants to, share anything at all. I want to avoid anyone ever suggesting that she should not tell us something. I hope to bring them both up where they are not afraid to tell us things with no fear of judgement. How best to do this? There are secrets and secrets after all.