I’m a compulsively private person.
I don’t like people to know when I’m trying something new or aiming for something, because I don’t want anyone to know whether or not to ask about something after the fact. I’m happy to share my success, but I absolutely do not want to share my failure.
On the morning of the GRE, my biggest cause for panic was not that I might bomb the test completely, but that so many people knew I was taking the test. If I did terribly, there were a lot of people who were likely going to ask about it and I’d either have to lie and say “fine” or confess what a total absolute failure I was.
I try never to tell anyone when I’m interviewing for a job, because I don’t want anyone to ask if I got it or not. Worse than not getting the job is telling someone that I didn’t get the job. I don’t like other people to see me fail.
Most of my life, I’ve never told anyone who I had a crush on, because I didn’t want anyone to know if it was unrequited.
When other people tell me about preparing for a huge exam, interviewing for a job, trying something new, etc., I find it difficult to comprehend. How can you not care that people might then ask “did you get the job?” “did you ace the test?” “did you get into school?” or “did you get the promotion?”? How can it be that easy to admit to failure?
I’m the kind of person who’d be happy to train for a marathon (if I actually liked to run, of course, which I do not) and not mention it all to anyone until I had a medal and a picture of me crossing the finish line.
I also hate being the center of attention. I don’t want too much focus on me, except for in things where I really deserve attention, like when I’m the lead in a play or preforming my first place winning Dramatic Interpretation. When Bart and I got engaged, I’d have been happy to not wear my ring for a month, so that when people did see it, it would be old news. I didn’t like saying “I got engaged twelve hours ago!” I want to be nonchelant about everything, and people think you’re completely nuts if you act that way when your engagement is less than a week old.
I was so relieved when we passed the year mark of marriage; I didn’t like being newly-weds. I much preferred being past the point where people feel a need to make exclamations over it.
Bart and I don’t plan to tell anyone that we’re having a baby until it’s impossible to keep it a secret any longer. We joke sometimes that, because we live far away from our family, we could theoretically, just show up at Christmas with a baby no one knew we had had (don’t worry, we’d never really do that; it’s just a hilarious idea to me).
Secrets make me feel safe; I can share success if I choose, but no one knows if something hasn’t worked out. No one knows to ask. No one asks questions that make me uncomfortable. And I like it that way.
Also, I definitely hope my children don’t inherit this characteristic. Because I only like secrets when I have them. I loathe it when other people have secrets. I want to know your exact GRE score, the moment you got engaged, the second you find out you’re expecting a baby, and every job you’ve applied for.