It was recently suggested to me that I keep much of what I really want to say to myself. As per my norm, I turned to humor, my go to defense for keen observations. I replied that given what I do put out into the world, the addition would be astounding. My reply was countered by an insight that what I put out is a mere cover for what I'm keeping. I don't want to agree, but I must. I hate to be figured out, to be known. I guess the jig is up.
No big deal, right? Everybody holds back to some degree. Thank goodness for that or this world would be even more messed up than it is. This repression seems to be a major subject among southern writers. Here in the South we hide a multitude of crazy behind a smile and a good raisin'.
Although I hardly think it was an insult or criticism, just a simple observation, it started me pondering. Just what am I hiding and why?
Holding back my true feelings is an easy task for me. I was brought up that way. My father wasn't interested in anything other than "yes sir" and "no sir". When you were punished, you were not allowed to cry. Crying led to more punishment and punishment in our house was something to fear. You can see how self control could prove important.
Marriage only served to further impede my expression.
Living with an emotionally volatile man I got into the habit of receiving all the garbage he could throw at me but not giving. No sense in fanning the flames in an action that would serve no purpose. Not keeping my words in check could grant me more than I bargained for. I made the mistake only a few times. The night I told him to leave I meted out my words carefully. Again, I did not fully disclose, but he got the point. This skill has been helpful since that time, helping me not tell the children just what I think of their father. No matter the truth of my words, this would only wound them and I would be the one to blame.
In the present I'd have to say I find safety in my half thoughts, veiled truths, and open ended answers. In so many instances, a complete and pointed statement would not serve anyone well. It might be hard to believe but sometimes my thoughts are selfish, dirty, or just plain mean. I tell ya, what lurks behind these eyes would make you hate me wildly or love me madly, depending on who you are.