22 February, 2010

Behind Closed Doors

There are various things that we keep behind closed doors.  Part of who we are, our relationships, our work, aspects of our lives that we compartmentalize in that we limit who, if anyone, is allowed to know these things about us. 

This weekend, I found myself  wondering why?  Not only why but where is the line between keeping something private and hiding a part of ourselves or our personalities?  Where is that line between hiding because the information might hurt someone, hiding because we are ashamed of our actions or that part of our selves, and keeping it private for ourselves as no one else plays into the situation?

These are the thoughts that ran through my head as I listened to an interview with a man who has a very active intimate life with his wife and yet, he is drawn to other men.  One of his “affairs” was discovered.  While his wife stayed and he received the love and support of his kids and his family, much of his community rejected him.  The man is now in therapy and working through the issue, the hiding, and potentially the attraction he has to men or accepting it.

And I find myself wondering about people in general and how much of ourselves we keep hidden out of a fear of rejection or shame?  How often do we tell ourselves that something just isn’t that important to share as a means of protecting ourselves from the thoughts and opinions of others?

In college I knew a girl whose dad decided that he was homosexual after a certain amount of years.  He was a good dad, involved with his kids, did the American family thing… and he just decided enough was enough.  He plays for the other team and is now true to himself.  His family supported and accepted him. 

I am sure that this is not as uncommon as we might want to believe.  We don’t all fit into a mold of the perfect person – nor is each of us a manifestation of the ideal partner for someone else no matter how hard they might want us to fit that role and how hard we might want to make ourselves fit.

I have thought about the man being interviewed off and on since listening to him talk.  Was the issue his attraction to men and his action toward them?  Was it that he hid this and then got caught?  Or was it the reality that he had bi-sexual desires?  Would the issue have come to light or would he have made his way into the national media had his desires not been hidden from his wife, his family, and his friends?

Where is that line?

As people, we hide things or keep information private.  We don’t often discuss our sex lives with our friends or families… and most likely not with our kids.  We might not talk about our vices, believing that our drinking or smoking or drug habits are private matters – gambling, shopping, eating… you name it, we all have a vice or two that we may or may not share with the world…

And yet I find myself asking – do we keep these private out of shame and fear and the knowledge that people will judge us for our actions?  Because we judge ourselves for those actions?

And there is that line… that line between too much information and hiding behavior and desires that are a part of who we are and deserve to be accepted as a part of each of us. 

Kids know that their parents have sex.  It is something parents don’t need to tell their kids – though educating their kids might be an idea.  Kids know.  In fact, kids probably know more about sex and toys and such than their parents realize at a point.  As parents, do we fear our kids knowing that we have sex?  Or do we simply accept that it is what it is and realize that sex is a wonderful part of adult life?

So maybe the line or the question  between keeping something private and hiding it is the emotional attachment or potential reaction one would experience were someone to find out?    If we fear judgment or rejection of end of relationship or love when someone uncovers the information…that is different than being able to shrug the shoulders and give a half grin and know that we are fine with someone else knowing our secret.  


Mama Llama said...

Wow. I need to let that one sink in a bit. I'll be back...

Mama Llama said...

K, I'm back.

Fear can motivate us to retreat into our shells and hide anything we perceive to be socially unacceptable. Who/what exactly defines acceptability? I suppose that depends greatly on our environs--where we are, roles we play, expectations...the list goes on.

But also--a private life is a private life. Much as it was never my mother's business when I became sexually active as a young woman, it is nobody else's business what I choose-or choose NOT-to do, as long as I am not hurting another.

Jobs should not depend on personal behavior. I feel strongly about maintaining a defined line between personal and professional lives, albeit quite probable that one's personal turbulence can wreck havoc on one's work performance.

I think I went off on a tangent. This is a great post, TE. Thanks for the ponderings.

Be well.