Admit One. What’s your dirty little secret? Exposing yourself for good.
I needed a sunshine break so I jumped on the Sky-train to visit my pal Andy in East Vancouver. He welcomed me with freshly harvested lettuce from his garden. His elderly neighbor spotted us inspecting the vegetable patch and popped over to say hello. After brief introductions he reached into his pocket and held up a ticket.
I thought he was a bit muddled when he launched into a reminiscent tale about being nine years old and stealing a candy bar. Apparently he felt so guilty that he turned himself in. When his story was finished, he handed the ticket to me and said “Okay, now it’s your turn, admit one.”
I reluctantly took the ticket and examined it closely.
The implications of the past 47 seconds hung like mustard gas in the air. An avalanche of childhood sins tumbled through my brain. I looked back see if he was serious. He was.
I struggled to find a story comfortable and safe enough to share… my face flushed, I glared at the ticket as if my piercing vision would magically pop the words out of it.
He shuffled towards me, “What’s the matter. It’s pretty simple. I’m sure you’ve made a mistake before.” Of course I had! Plenty in fact. “It doesn’t have to be from your childhood, it can be from last week.” Yes, I made mistakes last week too, but I wasn’t too certain about exposing them to this stranger.
I kept staring at the ticket looking for an escape clause…
Then the whole thing made sense. He had shared a silly little story about his past as a way of opening up to me. It wasn’t as much about the content or subject matter as the fact that he was exposing his human nature and faults. I blurted out a confession about throwing knives in the woods behind our property.
My accomplice was cut badly (his knee required 16 stitches) and we had to rush him to the hospital. Robin and I both knew we’d be in trouble for hurling knives (at trees, not each other) so we had lied to his parents saying Robin fell on a piece of glass. His entire family scoured the grassy field nearby looking for that piece of glass. Of course they never found it.
First impressions count, but it’s refreshing to reveal a flaw.
None of us are perfect yet we spend a lifetime striving to portray that image. Through a simple exchange I was taught to trust myself enough to reveal an imperfection to a complete stranger. It’s a humbling experience and one that I’ll remember well.