Friday, February 26, 2010
I love bumper stickers. I tend to live my life based on things one might find on a bumper sticker. I guess they might also be called reality bytes. One of my favorites is "We Are Only As Sick as the Secrets We Keep." Newbies to this kind of talk might want to read that sentence again. Our secrets keep us sick--our shame secrets, that is. It has taken me 56 years, but I think I am finally coming to grips between things that are private and things that are shame secrets. Has anybody else out there experienced these boundary-issue type things? Work with me here, please. Don't hang me out to dry along.
Taylor sees what he sees and says what he says. He is too "simple" to know how to lie. I swear it; he have never told a lie. Because he has no shame all tangled up in how he lives his little life, he just calls things exactly as they are. He's a tattle tale---but a pure one. Taylor's father used to try to pretend he didn't smoke. One day, Taylor rolled his window down a bit, hung a pencil from it like a cigarette and said, "Doe smoke." (Doe: his father) Tattle tale. When I fuss and fume he later reports, "Mama angry." Tattle tale. His care-giver might stay on the phone the entire time she's in charge of him and Taylor reports, "L. on phone too much." Tattle tale. Taylor "outs" us when we least expect it. Gosh, things we have worked really hard to keep hidden, become exposed and brought into the light. Taylor reports our over-sleeping, being left alone, my hurting his brudder's feelings, not having his teeth brushed, people being upset and who he saw that maybe he shouldn't have seen: I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus type thing. Tattle tale. Or maybe he's not.
I don't know about you, but I seemed to have spent a good portion of my life keeping secrets. But why? Why is it so hard to just "be" with "what is" about ourselves? (Bumper sticker again: What we can't be with won't let us be.) Why all this cover up? (Oh, now, don't go and start hiding your junk: drinking too often, lying about what you eat/don't eat, having a relationship you can't talk about, being in debt, TV addiction, compulsive spending.) What's your shame secret? We've all got 'em. We've all got them because we're all human. Why do we keep trying to make that a bad thing? We tend to live as if we don't have so much "junk" in common. But we do. We're a "we"--not just an "I." We let the fear of our secrets keep us separate. Besides being counter-intuitive, isn't that just so weird?
I am so lucky for my son-shadow tattle tale. Taylor keeps me honest. It has taken me 25 years, but I think I've finally figured this role of his. Taylor's tattle role is to live and help others to live openly and honestly no matter what. He sees the emperor with no clothes and makes a simple observation: That man is naked. There is no judgement or ridicule. It is just what it is, plain and simple. Taylor sees what he sees. He tells what he knows to be true. It's the rest of us who spend our lives trying to convince one another that the truth is not the truth. Another bumper sticker: The truth will set you free....but first it will piss you off. Sorry for the bad language. But it's the truth. Oh, get ready for Taylor to tattle on me again. Thank goodness. Any truth seekers out there need to borrow him? Are we ready to shine the light on our shadows?