It is not that I want to shout it from the mountaintops. Who would be there to listen, anyway? God, perhaps? But God already knows about it; He knew it from the very beginning. If nothing else, it would be a way to exercise my lungs and get it out of my system, and feel reasonably good about the whole experience as I would have finally "expressed" myself out in the open.
It is not that I want to shout it from the rooftops in the middle of the city for everyone to hear. But shouting from anyone's roof is not the answer. I suppose it's just a way of saying that I want it out in the open. Something in me wants that. No more secrets. No more tucking away a family secret at the back of the broom closet.
My story is not such a tragedy. What happened was wrong but my father is gone now. And my mother is old. I am an older woman. Family members have their own lives to lead. What would be the point of it all?
Am I so selfish that I need to tell them so that I can feel better about myself? Is that what it is? There I go, being self-absorbed again?
I think I need to heal. Having written about it in the past has helped. It's a way of purging the poison. I know that I have not completely healed. I know that I still have my issues.
It's not such a secret anymore because I'm sharing my stories. But I'm sharing my stories with strangers. It's safer that way. The need to reveal coupled with the need to still keep it hidden. In a way, I envy those who can share their stories out in the open because then everyone knows about it, including their family and friends. Surely we can go on with our lives afterwards. Other people do that, don't they? Or do they? Are some relationships shattered, never to be mended again? Or does one stay away from another? It is not always hugs and feeling safe and accepted. And I wonder how it would be for my family.
But then a voice nags at me, wanting to know why is it so important that I do it. I've lived so long with it and have only confided in two family members (an older brother and his wife at the time as well as a sister-in-law, the former during my still girlish days when I was going through a period of confusion, the latter during an impromptu moment of sharing) so one would think that would be enough.
But it's still hidden.
Maybe it happened to another or even others within the family and if they've kept it quiet all these years, why can't you? Or maybe it only happened to you. Why would you need to know anything else? Why would you want to drag up the past?
Don't you know that it's not all about you? That the universe doesn't revolve around you?
Of course I know that. I've known that for so long. I've been quiet as a church mouse for the longest time. I've been shy and insecure, even timid. But I'm stronger now, even a little bolder. But I know that just because I want - and maybe even need - to bring it out in the open, doesn't necessarily mean that it would be the wisest thing to do.
What would be the most loving thing to do?
If I wrote an article to be published in a magazine, sharing my experiences like I am now, how wonderful - and wonderfully brave - it would be to be able to write under my real name. Something in me wants that, even desires that.
But I wouldn't want family members to be indifferent or estranged as a result of my openness. It would be different if my father were still alive today. Or would it? I will never know.
We are not as close today as I hoped, or even thought, we were. Closer, in a way, but still, not close enough. And being distanced geographically doesn't always help either. Even the close bond that I so obviously share with my younger brother, having been open about other issues in each other's lives, doesn't give me the freedom to share this particular secret. There was a time when I almost did but then thought better of it, after the passing of time and some common sense perhaps?
Is it just life happening, bringing us away from one another? Or are there more secrets lurking in the corners somewhere, creating a divider between us? If I spoke out, would it help to mend another relationship, maybe even heal someone else in the family who might have been hurt some other way? Or would it only serve to make it worse?
It is difficult to love another and wish that things were different especially when you grew up with them, raised in the same family by the same parents. How I wish I had a magic wand.
I want to tell my story and not be afraid to be associated with it in any way. I want to use my name, the name given to me at birth, the name I grew up with. My maiden name. My married name. All my names.
I tell myself, No more secrets.
And then I go back to writing these pages, shielded by an "invisibility cloak" of my own making such as the one worn by young Harry Potter. We, in the audience, see him (when the camera reveals him underneath his cloak), but he is otherwise hidden to the world around him. Appealing character that he is, he is still a character in a book, brought to life on the big screen by an engaging and talented actor. And odd though it may be (or maybe not so odd?), that "cloak" suddenly popped into my head, and then things were a little clearer.
The bold me would still like it to be out in the open. The private me wonders if it would be the right thing to do. I've always understood it but there are times when I need to be reminded of it. And I think I understand it better now.