“The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them.” ~Ernest Hemingway
When I was a child I was part of a family that didn’t communicate beyond “pass the salt.”
There was no confiding of fears, sharing of hopes, and encouraging each other’s dreams. It was a superficial and empty existence but one that was completely normal to me.
Fast forward numerous years, add in three children and a loving partner of my own; now I try to recreate a childhood for my own kids that is a polar opposite to my own experience. To have proper conversations with them every day, to make sure they know just how loved and important they are, not just to me, but that the world is a better place for having them in it.
It can be really hard not to provide stock answers to my partner’s questions. I am “fine,” all is “okay,”‘ I have “everything” I need.
To realize that I can contribute to a conversation—that I am valued, and somebody actually wants to delve inside my head (which can be a scary place), and yet love me and want to know more—is an exhilarating, sometimes terrifying experience.
Practicing total honesty doesn’t always come easily, and it is something I have to consciously work on. I have spent such a huge proportion of my life feeling I am not worth listening to and I have always classed myself as a very private person, used to keeping my thoughts and feelings inside.
My partner gently encourages me to share all aspects of myself, and although initially this made me feel really vulnerable, it is becoming more and more natural for me to do so.
I have felt a huge shift lately. The more and more transparent I get, the bigger the sense of freedom I feel. There is a huge difference between privacy and secrecy, and that has been a lesson I have had to learn.
I acquired a disability after an accident, and it is something I tried to keep hidden for a long, long time. People who didn’t see me in a wheelchair (Facebook friends, old school companions, for instance) had no idea of the extent of my physical impairment.