Comic books, cartoons, and movies make living a double life sound so thrilling. Imagine everyone treating you like a “normie” when you are really a superhero, a spy with access to the U.S. nuclear codes, or a crime-fighting vigilante – what fun, right? You’ll reveal yourself some day and then your neighbor Joan, who keeps pestering you about mundane nonsense like watering your grass more often, will have to pick her jaw off the the floor. Ha!
In reality, spending almost every waking moment swimming in dramatic tension – “what if people KNEW???” – is incredibly stressful. While being a stereotypical “mild-mannered” reporter and secretly dating the one-time “most-hated man in America” Martin Shkreli, I felt like one of the more cursed superheroes, such as Rogue from the X-Men who could hurt people just by touching them.
When the story came out, which I was sure it would eventually do, I surmised the potential viral gossip explosion could reputationally injure everyone around me. So I kept the truth under wraps for a while, for the same reasons Rogue always wore gloves.
But lying was not going to work for me forever. I was a journalist. I cared passionately about exposing hidden facts, using sunlight as a disinfectant, and fighting for the public’s right to know. My conscience chafed me constantly when I didn’t feel like I could be honest with people.