Sunday, January 17, 2016

On Honesty

Every time I try to write something here, it's like some kind of performance. I try to go for a big theme, a big narrative, contexualize or historicize. It's funny: people used to talk about how well I write. They'd talk about how vulnerable I can be, how articulately I can express myself. But for awhile now, I feel like I haven't been expressing myself- I've just been telling a story. A story where I can't get hurt. Where I'm not hurting. Not really.

My mind was never a safe place growing up. My father saw to that. One of the scariest situations I could be in would be riding in the car alone with him. And he turns to me and asks "what are you thinking?" When I was real young, I used to answer honestly. But almost always he'd get upset. If there was anything I was upset about, he'd take it personally and fire back at me. At the time, it was incredibly confusing: he'd ask me what I was thinking, but it was like he never wanted to actually know. He wouldn't even let me say "nothing;" he'd always say "I know you're thinking something." And of course what I'm thinking is "I wish you'd leave me alone, you don't actually want to know what I'm actually thinking." Which is why he's asking me in the first place, because he's probably afraid of what it is too. That I'm afraid of him, that I feel incredibly uncomfortable, that I don't feel like I can protect myself or leave and that I'm just completely exposed without recourse. So eventually, when I was in the car with him, I would constantly have another narrative running, a decoy script I could give to him that would assuage any of his fears and reassure him everything was ok. It was exhausting, certainly. But it was better than the alternative.

I don't know if I know how to be honest. To say what I really feel. I guess I say versions of it, certainly. Maybe we all do. But so much of it still feels scripted. Like all of you are him, and I have to tell you what's palatable. What you can handle. What won't hurt you, what won't worry you, what won't tap into your insecurities and set a fire nothing but time and causing pain can put out. And maybe most of it's not a lie. Not really. But it's not the whole truth. It's not everything. I'm not really sure what everything even is. Maybe I should figure that out.

No comments:

Post a Comment