Sitting at the dinner table during holidays, even fake ones like Canadian Thanksgiving, means looking at your family members and hiding who you truly are. We all try to stick to safe topics, like picking on a family member who is not present or discussing how dad's turkey isn't as dry as last year.
Most of us have to remember not to share aspects of our personal lives that we've spent years hiding from our parents.
In hopes of making ourselves feel better about what we've been withholding, we reached out to others to find out what secrets they've kept from the people who raised them. Good luck keeping these on lockdown when you're drunk at dinner this weekend:
I still keep in touch with my biological mother who gave me up when she had me at 16 and found me when I was 19. They are still bitter because she's the one who told me I was adopted. —Larry, 30
When I was 15 I accidentally killed my sister's hamster by coming home drunk and trying to sneak in at midnight through her window when I heard a crunch and squeal. I look down and see I've stepped on her hamster, so I grabbed the mangled lil fella and sneaked into my mom's room and placed it on her pillow. The next morning I awoke to screams and the entire horrific ordeal being blamed on our cat Tabby—she loved bringing my mom dead squirrels and birds. —Sherge, 31
I never graduated from university. I stuck it out in my uni town for five years but dropped out part way into fourth year after essentially dropping all my classes the year prior. I went travelling when my commencement would have been, and they never really brought it up after a few more years of bartending and me telling them I was putting it towards opening my own bar some day. — Mike, 33
My parents still think I'm a virgin at 31. They think my boyfriend and I just hold hands and drink tea. — Jess, 31
I have had a stick and poke triangle tattoo on my ankle for four years. —Sierra, 22
I still hide the fact that I'm living with my boyfriend and have for years. — Rebecca*, 26
I've never really addressed the fact that I drink with my family. My dad probably suspects. They will offer me a glass of wine or beer sometimes but they don't know about parties and getting hammered. In Grade 12 my mum warned me before a camping trip that some of my friends might want to "have a sip of beer" because they're at that age. I'd been getting trashed for years. — Sarah*, 31
Sex work. I pretended I stopped after they found out. I have a made-up job in the fitness industry. They seem to buy it. —Claire, 27
Smoking. I climbed out onto mum's roof to smoke last year and heard her coming up the stairs, so I threw it away and crawled back into the window and the cigarette was stuck in the gutter. I almost died trying to flush it down. — Jade, 29
It's definitely weird being polyamorous every time I'm back home at the dinner table with a significant other and my family not having any idea about the other people we both have sex with. —Brock, 36
I hide from my dad that I nude modeled. I hide it because he has prejudice towards sex workers. If he found out, he would probably just yell at me, ignore me for a bit, and wouldn't be able look at me, I imagine. I think he would mostly be disappointed in himself for not being able to provide enough for me that I felt the need to do that to make money, without thinking that maybe I enjoy it and that's why I do it. —Fae, 26
I still hide the fact that I did cocaine from my mom. Also, numerous nights of sneaking out and staying over "at friends' houses" in high school. —Alice, 24
I got my bellybutton pierced at 15, and my parents never knew. I still have a hole that won't heal and hide it from them when I'm in a bathing suit. My doctor says it will never heal over. I've had the earring out for 10 years. — Bethany*, 26
My abortion. I grew up very Catholic and although my parents have loosened up a lot over the years, I'm pretty sure this would still devastate them. — Ashley, 30
This weekend [at Thanksgiving] I will be hiding my sex life. My parents own a restaurant, and I've slept with a few girls who work for my parents. We are having a family dinner at the restaurant, and one of the girls is working that night. Me, her, and my friend had a threesome on a few occasions. —Taylor, 28
*Names have been changed to protect privacy.