Ask me no questions and I will tell you no lies.
I’m a firm believer in selective sharing but personally I have secrets. I think everyone does. There are thoughts, feelings, emotions and experiences that I will never ever share with anyone for any reason. My parents used to say all the time “Don’t put your business out in the street.” If they were alive today they’d be appalled with these Reality TV shows/generation.
I know my grandparents keep secrets because certain life issues were better left unspoken and no one wants to keep revisiting a particularly horrendous part of their past. Since I’ve gotten older I’ve begun to piece together some of what they possibly went through in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. I remember my Dad saying my Grandfather never talked about his childhood growing up in VA. Given that Jim Crow was King of the South I suppose my Grandfather did not want to relive the horrors of the time period.
As for my maternal Grandmother Hattie Finney Banks well one did not discuss domestic violence. There were no services or programs in the 1930s so after my grandfather went to prison for murdering my Great grandfather (my grandmother’s Dad) my grandmother thought it best to make up a story that he had died in a coal mining accident. She had already went through horror, shame, & abuse so it would have been pointless to tell her 3 daughters (that included my Mom) or any of her grand-children. Both my great uncles (her brothers knew and kept the secret).
I found out a few years ago through my great aunt who went to my great grandfather’s funeral. Of course by that time all the participants were dead. My grandmother, mother and aunts have been dead for years so nobody could be embarrassed or humiliated. Age and perspective have given me the ability to understand what my grandmother went through and why she made certain decisions. Also why she never re-married. No judgment. I’ve found that most times discussing past traumatic events only dredges up old wounds and does not provide any healing whatsoever because it causes the victim to become mired in the past.
My Secrets ~~ Don’t Ask. Don’t Tell.
The few times I’ve revealed or opened up to so-called trusted friends usually ended in disaster. Confided in somebody I thought I could trust the extreme stress I was going through. Like last year when I wound up in the hospital. Psych ward. Horrible experience.
The drugs I was forced to take during this time period turned me into a zombie. I nearly lost my job. All my hospitalization did was make worse and magnify all my problems.
Akin to prison incarceration. The cure was worse than the disease. Two weeks of misery. The only thing that saved me was the advice of an intake nurse who said, “You’re smart. Tell them what they want to hear.” Which is exactly what I did. Learned to make myself small. Play their game and eventually I was released. Therapists, psychologists and psychiatrists want you to discuss past events that cannot be changed. I find that totally pointless. Why do you want me to tell what happened to me in the 1970s or any other time period? What positive changes would that bring about for me?
Mental health professionals have only made me more suspicious, cynical and jaded. I have found in general that the only reason people want you to confide in them is to take your flaws and weaknesses to use against you. A form of blackmail. I also do not trust folks who call themselves Life Hackers, Life Coaches, these Happy Talk talking heads who remind me of Maximum Headroom,or any other nonsense going around today.
Max Headroom, The Best Bits Ever!
Anyway I can truthfully say I learned my lesson. Lost friends in the process but I do believe I’m a better person for all that has happened to me. My Life. My Decisions. My Choices.
Through research I pieced together Grandmother’s story which in many ways became my story.