This is the thing about secrets: we try to hold them. But secrets can’t be contained. The more you try to keep them, the more they’ll find ways to escape and then appear when we least expect them. That’s another way of saying ‘the truth will out’.
I inherited a secret from my mother.
Young, beautiful and fresh from the continent, she had come to London to learn English. She made friends with other foreign students and one night, attended by the warmth of a whiskey bottle and a handsome Japanese man, inadvertently made me. This act of creation was the greatest shame a girl could bring upon herself in those days. She never told him.
But she told me. By the time I was 6, I knew I had a different father from the man who had so wonderfully adopted me and I absorbed this secret like a stain that coloured my blood enigmatic and made new sense of my dark hair and eyes. But because of the times and country I lived in I had to pretend to know otherwise. It was tacitly taboo to talk about the faceless unmentionable that lived in our family. If anyone were to ask me – and they did – why I looked so different from my 3 undeniably caucasian brothers, I was to lie. I was to say I didn’t know.
Over the years I said “I don’t know” many times. So many times that I lost connection with the truth and soon I didn’t know a lot of things. What I felt. Where I was going and what I was supposed to be doing.
I didn’t ever feel the need to know my father nor did I feel the slightest twinge of curiosity about him. Until one day I did. Then suddenly the need to know awoke in me with such ferocity it took me by surprise. All I knew was his name, age and nationality. I googled, I searched, I made enquiries. And found him with such seamless ease it was as if the finding of him had always been waiting, it only needed me to pull aside the curtain to look. After many letters were exchanged, I visited him twice. And there it seems to end.
For reasons I may never know or understand, trapped between the incomprehensions of language and culture, I am now a secret in his life. He can’t tell anyone about me. There is a strange sense of loss when truths and people have to be invisible in our lives. I think we all sense holes where things are missing, haven’t come properly into being yet through being spoken. Deep down, we know when things are buried, squeezed out because we have nowhere to put them, no language to say them with. Perhaps my Japanese half-brother half-registers some hidden warp in his life that remains shapeless yet makes itself known through a subtlety; the unreadable pensive expression in his father’s eyes one evening as they share a meal together in the same restaurant we once went to in Kyoto. I’m imagining things. But then, this is the place for it.
In so many ways the internet web is such a perfect reflection of our soul life. It can seem so shallow and superficial and yet it has the curious capacity to hold depths of ourselves that we do not easily dare show elsewhere. People’s most profound desires, fears, fantasies, agonies, truths and secrets can find expression and connection. As much as they may be concealed behind your daily life and mine, you can witness the revelation of them coming alive here.
This blog is a way of coming to the surface. Bringing forward what I can’t yet properly see into the light that only creative acts can shine. This is not my name in real life, it was not given to me. It belongs to me only because I’ve claimed it, just here. In this place which gives me the freedom to do so.