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Atoke’s Monday Morning Banter: The Secrets Keeper



dreamstime_xl_33341181Worry is like sitting in a rocking chair/it gives you so much to do/ but takes you nowhere.
Over the years, I’ve had to sing that song to myself repeatedly to stem the tide of my natural inclination to be a Worrywart. It is a really bad trait; you find yourself worrying about things that you have no control over, or things that haven’t even happened. It even gets worse when someone decides that it is you, Lady WorryWart, that they want to tell a secret to, or confess a crime to. I can already feel the heat rising in my ears from the many times I’ve found myself in this situation.
The role of a Secrets Keeper is a burdensome one. When someone confesses a heinous deed to you, they’re inadvertently passing the buck of their burden to you. There’s something about the saying ‘a problem shared is a problem half solved’ that makes you think only about the sharer of said problem. How many times do we think about the person who was sitting on his own and finds himself with this information being thrust upon him? Then, in all of this the person (Super Human that he is) is expected to bear that burden all by their lone self!

Now here’s the thing with secrets: the best kept ones are the ones that are never divulged to anybody – not even your best friend and confidant. I mean, how is it a secret when even one person knows? If you invite me to help you bury a body, then it’s no more a secret! The minute you bring someone else into that circle, it automatically becomes that person’s own secret – to do with as they deem fit.

Yollywood would have us believe that the best way to insure yourself against your secrets being divulged is by going to swear an oath to the old gods by a sacred tree. So picture this: you go to have an abortion with your best friend in tow. You make her swear an oath that she would never tell a soul. Best friend, afraid of the repercussions of ever telling anybody, swears that your abortion endeavour will go to the grave with her. But this system is not foolproof! How do you guarantee that absolutely nobody else knows about it? You can arrange to have all the medical personnel who performed the procedure killed, but how do you sort out the Ifa priest? It’s just long, complicated and unneccesary.

Another aspect of the expectation to keep secrets is the fact there are no guarantees that the owner of the secret has told only one person. So you have a scenario where Michael slept with his boss’ wife. In a fit of guilt, he tells Dapo, his best friend and Day 1 guy. He is assured of Dapo’s loyalty and fidelity. Dapo’s a stand up guy like that. He won’t break his word. One evening after a few drinks at a bar in Lagos, someone is talking about how Boss is very arrogant; Michael leans in and says to Emeka and his girlfriend Emily, who are sitting next to him: “Make I tell una one secret! No tell anybody oh! Me dey gbensh that Oga wife well well.
Alcohol is a fatherless entity! Just like that, the secret is no longer much of a secret. Poor Dapo is carrying around this heavy burden of knowing his friend is an adulterer, who might lose his job if he, Dapo, drops the ball on this heavy thing that he has been entrusted with.

While there’s no discounting the fact that great relief comes from having someone to tell stuff that you have buried hidden away, a little consideration needs to be given to the person you’re sharing that information with. Is the person strong enough to handle whatever you’re about to lay on them?
This isn’t even a case for whether the person loves you enough to hold what is important to you; neither is it a case for how close you are to the person.

The job of holding anybody’s deep dark secrets is incredibly difficult. Life is already hard, having to deal with your own demons. It would be crazy to compound issues by adding someone else’s guilt to yours.
At the end of the day, everything hidden usually comes to the fore; whether you want it to, or not. Our deepest and darkest secrets are best buried in the recesses of our hearts.

Think about it! Sometimes, it’s not always about you.
Have a beautiful week ahead.

Live. Love. Laugh.

Oh, and before I go…let’s take a quick minute to shout out the people who have absolutely no interest in boxing, and defied all odds, NEPA, fuel scarcity and whatnot to watch the big fight #MayPac. Y’all are the real MVPs! Forget TeamMoney.
It takes an enormous amount of self-sacrifice to be able to invest so much (and don’t tell me cutting your sleep hours short is not sacrifice) just because everybody is doing it.

Photo Credit: Dreamstime | Scott Griessel

You probably wanna read a fancy bio? But first things first! Atoke published a book titled, +234 - An Awkward Guide to Being Nigerian. It's available on Amazon. ;)  Also available at Roving Heights bookstore. Okay, let's go on to the bio: With a Masters degree in Creative Writing from Swansea University, Atoke hopes to be known as more than just a retired foodie and a FitFam adherent. She can be reached for speechwriting, copywriting, letter writing, script writing, ghost writing  and book reviews by email – [email protected]. She tweets with the handle @atoke_ | Check out her Instagram page @atoke_ and visit her website for more information.


  1. tito

    May 4, 2015 at 12:00 pm

  2. @edDREAMZ

    May 4, 2015 at 12:23 pm

    Well i love people confessing their deepest secret to me and am gud at keeping secrets….

  3. nef

    May 4, 2015 at 12:45 pm

    Yo, Atoke, your story is incomplete o. Does Dapo ever get to know that Michael has shared the secret with 2 other people? What happens when someone tells you a secret and you find out that its not even really a secret because they have gone on to tell like 5 other people the same secret?

  4. Funmilola

    May 4, 2015 at 12:53 pm

    At the end of it all,there’s nothing like the word ‘secret’. There’s nothing hidden under the sun.

  5. Ladydoctor

    May 4, 2015 at 12:57 pm

    I once told a “friend” something in confidence. Two weeks later, someone else called me to ask if it was true! Needless to say, she is no longer someone I tell things to. I keep my own confidence now.

  6. Adenike

    May 4, 2015 at 1:06 pm

    Over time, i have felt that my deepest darkest secrets will remain with me till I die. With that being said, I try to stay on the straight and narrow, so that don’t die of self inflicted guilt. However with sharing secrets- as the “sharer”, I don’t like to burden people or be the topic of a conversation, so if I tell someone sth that I consider secret, I have thought about the possibility of others finding it out, and how I would feel. Sometimes when a friend starts with “you are the only one I’m telling this”, I already start saying “Oh my God, don’t tell me…lol”, (in my mind, or out loud depending on the friend). Also, sometimes I forget “secrets”. So some conversations begin with remember when I told you…? And I’m like you did?? LooooL!

    • QueenEsther

      May 17, 2015 at 11:04 pm

      Lol this is so me. My friends get mad all the time cos I forget

  7. Toyin

    May 4, 2015 at 1:10 pm

    I want to know why most people start their “secret sharing” stories with: Don’t Tell Anyone.
    Oh, so you know I can tell someone else? so why are you telling me? I think that short threatening/warning phrase makes you want to tell the world. (Sometimes just share it casually without making it come off as a secret)

    On the secret matter. I hardly share my secrets with people. Not because I don’t trust them, but because I feel it gives me away as weak. Can’t trust humans like that..Heck, I can’t trust myself with your secrets, so keep it.

    • tcheeneze

      May 4, 2015 at 4:21 pm

      My dear, that’s how I told some one (A) a ‘secret’ casually (like you are suggesting) i.e without the warning phrase…and she went to share it with some one else(B) who shared it with C, who came back asking me. Confronted her(A) and she defended herself with, she didn’t know she shouldn’t share.
      The best is tell no one.

  8. Toyin

    May 4, 2015 at 1:17 pm

    Oh! About the boxing. After receiving an sms from my dad at 4am asking me to wake up and “witness history”, I felt obligated to watch the fight…(Never watched boxing).

    So you can imagine my surprise when I found out the outcome of the fights was determined by “judges”…HUMAN JUDGEMENT!!!!! Not like the other sports that we can all watch and using Standard rules, we know who won. I thought it was unfair.

    Just like Tennis, Wrestling, Football, etc have standard rules of knowing winners without using human judgement, I think Boxing needs that.

    Needless to say I spent the rest of my morning ranting to Hubby our unfair their judgement system is.

  9. Sabifok

    May 4, 2015 at 2:06 pm

    The worst thing about being told a secret is that sometimes you forget that it was told to you in secret, especially after a long passage of time, and you invariably end up telling another person.

    What of scenarios where A tells B a secret, and makes B swear never to tell anyone. One day when B is talking to C, C repeats the secret A had told him. Does B pretend to be surprised? Or does he tell C off? Confusing…

    Dead men tell no secrets. I didnt suggest that you should go and kill you friend o.

  10. sane

    May 4, 2015 at 3:53 pm

  11. TA

    May 4, 2015 at 8:32 pm

    Atoke mi of life thankyou o. I keep saying it that it’s not a secret if you’re not the only one who knows about it. Anyways, these are my tried and tested method of relaying ‘secrets’ to your friends. 1. Don’t ever use email, social media or any other form of electronic messaging to narrate said secret. It must be verbal . If you like go and air your laundry via whatsapp, Na you sabi if dem screenshot your conversation and send to your future inlaws. Okay I exaggerate. Lol. But you get the picture. 2.. Your secret must be told in person and never over the phone. Don’t look at me like that jor, how do you know your conversations are not being recorded or if you have been placed on speakerphone? You see. 3. Never tell your secrets indoors or in enclosed places , walls really do have ears you know. 4. Relate your secrets when you are walking along the beach or seated in a park. Lol.
    Disclaimer: If you tried all of the methods and your secret still leaked, well you have your self and maybe your basket mouth friend to blame. Lol!

  12. Abby Scuito

    May 5, 2015 at 3:17 am

    Thats why i dont have alotta friends….and i dont trust anybody….not even my self cus I tend to disappoint myself sometimes. Na only God get my trust oooo

  13. Babygiwa

    May 6, 2015 at 10:31 am

    I don’t tell my friends my darkest secrets o. I keep them to myself.
    About the fight, I slept off o. By I’m happy my guy Mayweather won. #TeamMoney

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