It was no surprise when at about 11p.m I got a call from Beri (not real name) ,she had been going through a very tough time and I knew for a fact she needed someone to have a heart to heart conversation with .But as I answered the phone, the conversation was totally different . She was whimpering, crying and very bitter about our mutual friend “Hannah .Beri had been going through a series of challenges .”and had ,confided in (us) her two best friends . But according to Beri for Hannah to take it to a fourth and fifth party was violating that confidentiality and in her words “ Ethel ,how could she do this to me ?.I feel so terrible now that everyone knows what I am going through, “
Her words hit me like a muck trunk. YESSSSSSSSS!!!!!. I screamed inwardly and throughout the conversation I could not help but chronicled my friendship with Hannah wondering if she had lost a chunk of memory about her own secrets I had kept just to protect her ego.
Experts say, people’s greatest fear is not of suffering but of humiliation and judgment. Sometimes once a secret is shared amongst two people it is believed one of them wouldn’t judge each other .People get bonded in mutual discomfort because they separate themselves from the rest of the judgmental world. We fear judgment so much that we allow it to take our power, authencity and our freedom.
After that phone call, I engaged my mind in a heartfelt conversation in hope ,yet having no idea what to expect out of it. One thing is as humans we have a tendency to shield our mess . I know this because I have learnt to deal with two personalities, the one I want people to see and the one that I actually see, (you know the part you see when lying on your bed, in a dark room ,or catch a glimpse of yourself in the mirror). Hence it is annoying when I have uninvited people to my “pity party “ because if you have lived long enough and experienced some of my challenges you will know that life can hit you in places you did not even know existed .And you will feel pain in portions of your frame you never thought were part of your body. The last thing you need is people judging you based on their perception of life.
So does my public persona capture my life? Yes and No…No because majority of the time folks can see my smile but not hear my screams. But let me say this now I am fuckin tired of being on duty call ,being in a state of conscious awareness and right now I don’t have anymore emotional resources . I have made so many emotional withdrawals from my crypted self that right now its an overdraft .In my world am I being haunted by “Ghosts, ” ,of course yes! Do I have an expectation of who /where I am expected to be? ,Yes ..Can I have the freedom to really talk about my fears /mistakes without being judged? ,of course yes ..its my fundamental right !!
Yet I have to keep sealed lips and deal with this myself .Its not pride or acting tough ,but I grew up in a time when I was taught “ what happens in a house stays in a house” .Exposing challenges in your personal life may even turn your own mom into a serial killer …She will storm into the house knife in between her teeth , bombs strapped around her waist screaming the roof down.” How dare you let so, so and so know your business ,do you know how that makes us look ?because you know once you go public with your stuff you caste your pearls infront of swines?”!!
Yet sometimes I wish I could quit acting -up and scream how bad things are. Because like Beri I need confidante(s) I can genuinely let in and tell how hard life is ,explain the burden of both the seen and unseen struggles .But right now I wear my heels, feign the everything is fine smile and bounce off. They’re my little secrets and they help me keep my sanity because the moment everyone knows my worries then those secrets aren’t safe .I die from thinking the ifs -not and what- nots. I remember a friend telling me once ” I’m going to tell you something but please don’t tell anyone” ,I replied “ no ,please don’t tell me “, because I knew the mental torture that I would surely endure once their secret was deposited into my mind. For I am also guilty of judging people based on my understanding of their problems.(double standards right?)
I know I have basement issues, a place Where I hide everything that does not make sense, stashed away pieces of furniture that doesnot fit or have space . But I have also learnt that once in while its important to go down that basements and clean it out. Because if I don’t ,the screams from the basement will one day be heard upstairs .
I am a devoted believer with Jesus in my heart but also pains in my bones and once in a while those pain-issues show their heads like venomous snakes.
The house I call my mind need amazing repairs. Because I don’t want to implode from all the pain and struggles that might crippled me from the knowledge of who I really am. Because when I get submerged by the waves of struggles and pressure I forget that I don’t have to be sighted to be loved by God. Yet I have a heart that hurts ,and each day I hope He wraps his arms around my imperfect body and keep working on me!
My mom once said “True power is sitting back and observing everything with logic , .If words control you that means everyone else controls you “I understand this now because We live in a society where everyone has got an opionion on where and what your life should be and we wonder why there are mad men walking around in suits and well groomed facial hair, women with weaves and beautifully adorned faces yet Unstable and Broken .People whose smile does not reach their eyes .They live several different lives to please different situations. Most times they truly mean well. But they can’t help but destroy what they touch. Not because they are bad people, they convince themselves that the reason they lie is not out of malice, but because they are terrified of what might happen, if the truth of their “basement issues “is actually known. The fear of being ridiculed, humiliated by the very people they love .
I am not perfect ,I have self inflicted pain and imposed struggles .Do I need any person judging me based on that HELL NO !!! Because everyday of my life I have to deal with being a better person . I cant practice compassion with others if I don’t have the capacity to be kind to myself.(inclusive with my flaws and struggles).What makes me vulnerable also makes me beautiful( inclusive the willingness to trust people) ,The tenancity to move on after a major set back ,for at the end I will just try to be my own hero because everyone is busy trying to save themselves …
In my conversation with Beri I would have normally dug deep within my analytical person and tell her it did not matter if Hannah had betrayed her ,…..explain to her that she did not need their opinion because we all have “basement issues “,that she was a successful young educated woman -and just because she didn’t know the struggles of others does not mean they don’t have demons they’re fighting…..I would add, I understand struggles could be in her car but she should not allow the opinion of others be in her drivers seat… But on this particularly day I choose to be silent and just listen to her …