Desolate and desperate, I poured out my truth into the journal – unexpurgated and raw, agonising to re-read – and, in politer, often generalised/fictionalised form, on here…
…and I deleted, time after time after time: Years ago, I ripped whole pages out of journals, so that, slimmed down, they represented only the lie I wanted the rest of the world (but mainly myself) to believe; in here, posts which strayed too close to the line of reality were culled. One, two, three whole blogs disappeared into the bin because their contents felt too threatening to me.
But why? Why are we so often afraid of coming out with the truth? Is it because we fear punishment for telling it? Opprobrium from those who choose to discount, even disbelieve, our blood-and-tears-wrought testimony? The response from game players who tell us that it is only our truth and, as such, has no basis in concrete reality?
Yes, all of the above. But, most importantly, the ruthless binning of pain and fear, the plastering on of a falsely blank, even cheery, demeanour, is the natural reaction, when outside closed doors to whatever might be happening behind them.
People see what is before their eyes. Of course they do. A face full of smiles and apparent good will is not going to be questioned. We rarely have the time, or the inclination, to think, ‘Is this person’s outer self hiding a very different inner self?’ And, in all fairness, why should we? We have enough to cope with in life without probing every mien with the laser of the psyche.
Even now, I write very carefully, almost tangentially. I am not trying to be passive aggressive, or get sympathy, or hint. It is simply the result of years of intense fear, fear of what would happen if I did spill the beans (as the saying goes); fear of psychological punishment.
Often, in life, when a close friend or relative divulges a painful secret, our immediate reaction is, ‘But why didn’t you tell me? Ask for help?’
In truth, I often used to think this myself. But there is another side to this one. If one is used to being told that one is exaggerating, making things up, mentally ill or deluded, there is the very real terror that those one confides in will say, as one person did to me, ‘I find that hard to believe…’
I think now that one of the most awful, scary things to face is another turning away, uninterested or disbelieving, when one has screwed one’s courage to the sticking point and opened the doors to a difficult trust and confidence. For all that it only really matters that we are telling the truth (and not that others believe our words), we are social animals and we need the company of others. The urge to share with fellow human beings is strong. The need to explain, confide, be heard – particularly by the doubters and disbelievers – can be overwhelming at times. Hard to resist!
The urge to delete comes out of feeling unsafe. It comes out of the childlike terror of being found out and punished. Lying, as I intimated in a previous post, has never come naturally to me. I wish it did. It would be much easier all round if I were able to lie unashamedly and without physiological ‘tells’ blighting my words! But I can’t – and they do!
The habit of fear at this level is a very hard one to break – and takes time. But I can see a gain in courage within my own heart: This latest blog, started last December, remains intact with one exception. Given that I was deleting 25-50% of posts in previous ones, I count this as a little personal triumph!
Those who matter have always known my truth – and seen it for what it is. As I have for them. The doubters and disbelievers, whose good opinion I have been so desperate to gain, have shown, with stark clarity, that my reserve and unease about confiding in them was due to an instinctive distrust of their reaction. If we are desperate to please those who disregard or disbelieve or dismiss us, there is something fundamentally wrong in the relationship – and, to be scrupulously fair, in our response to such people!
One of the hardest, most painful, things I am facing is letting go of those who have no further place in my life. Naturally insecure and clingy, I find this almost impossible to do – but do it, I must.
I owe them no explanation. I never did. How liberating! How frightening!
The truth, as the saying goes, shall set us free.
I sure hope so!