I seem to be on a bit of a roll – first secrets and now rumours – but it is particularly topical, given my day today. Luckily for me, I wasn’t the one being talked about, but there’s nothing to stop it happening to me too, or anyone really. The facts were scanty but the words being thrown around were worryingly harsh.
When your kids go to the nearby public school, you encounter people regularly on a social level that are different to you in many ways – race, religion, ideas on how to raise kids and the importance of vegetables. Though I have to admit, where I live doesn’t have a vast amount of racial and religious offerings on the school smorgasbord, I think this makes the small differences seem far larger. The people being talked about would have a fairly similar social and educational background to me and work in traditional fields. So far, so good. They went through what seems to be a bad divorce though and I’m not sure if this is where the trouble started or if something had happened prior to this, but of the many people talking about them, not a good word was said about either. And that’s enough to make other people who might otherwise have been friendly, stay away.
Obviously, getting divorced is harrowing and unpleasant and it is the rare person who is able to set aside their weapons and endure it with grace. The people around them may only see the worst side, particularly when the former spouses collide in public and small children are involved and emotions high. Because most people will not be taken into their confidence of both, they know one side or the other or merely observe the strained relationship and come to their own conclusions. This, I think, is where the worst of the rumours start. Not being close to either party, there is no obligation to hold back and with each subsequent retelling over the day, the details became more scandalous. What is worse is although I saw the evolution of the rumour and recognised that the lack of detail was getting filled in too quickly to have had any verification done, I had to keep a firm hold of the part of me that really wanted to join in. Why, when I knew I had nothing to base it on, did I want to contribute something? I gave myself a mental spanking, but I’m still thinking about it and whether I have been on the receiving end of similar treatment but just don’t know about it. To write means that you expose parts of yourself, cleverly hidden amongst other details in the storyline of course, and you never know what people are going to assume about you after reading your books. There is no way to prevent it – even if you hide out in your home people will still talk. If what people say about you is none of your business, why should you still have to deal with the fall-out?
Secrets – is there a good point to them? In light of the desire now to spew every thought you ever have into the ether, should we even have them or should we relinquish all control to the greater knowledge base that is the internet, to be lost in the vast swelling vortex of information? I think almost everyone has something deep within themselves that they never want other people to know. Tonight I told someone something I thought I would take silently past my deathbed and into the grave. Despite what they tell you in movies and books, it didn’t feel good or cathartic. I wish I hadn’t said anything, because it’s now out there and I have no control over it anymore. Though to be honest, there were five of us who knew and now there are seven, so realistically not much has changed. The five who knew though, would never have said anything, though there has been the odd fluttering conversation around it a couple of times over the years. The new two? Who can tell what they will do with it.
I don’t feel brave, having spoken. I fell vulnerable and sick. Why exactly is talking about things the answer? Nothing has changed and nothing can be changed. If I don’t feel better, the people I spoke to certainly don’t. I was asked a direct question, and I didn’t lie. But should I have? What is more important – a truth that can only harm or a lie that will function as a Band-Aid, covering it all over like a faux skin-coloured piece of plastic?
As part of my ongoing reluctant attempts at marketing, I’ve become more active on Twitter. This is a social media platform I didn’t really get but I can say that days and weeks later I am nearing 100 followers and still have no idea what I’m doing or why. I know if I googled it, I could have endless websites telling me the answer but I’m too lazy and my brain is full. I blame my son for telling me constant useless information about Minecraft, which is taking up too much space. People’s names and birthdays have already dropped out, and now my brain is clearing space by nudging out the more important stuff, like the “whys”. Clearly, just knowing I have to turn up to a freezing oval at the crack of dawn with strangely dressed and protesting small boys is enough. If I thought about the why, I’d still be snuggled up in bed in my pyjamas sound asleep, like all rational people. I’d also know why my husband likes to watch so many varieties of people moving balls around on grass, rather than leave him to it and doing something more productive, like blogging or reading lovely books about alpha male alien cyborgs who turn into wolves while handcuffing beautiful women (who don’t know they’re beautiful, despite being told regularly) to beds or posts or other random furniture.
I’m just at the end of a particularly good series about alien vampires (excellent combination) though the phrase “internal muscles clenching” is used with alarming frequency. Part of me hopes he eats her in the end, but I know it’s fairly unlikely. Still the instance on a happily ever after (HEA in industry-speak) really limits your anticipation of the ending. If you know its going to end happily, then you know the main couple will end up together, most likely at the end of a lengthy heart to heart. This might be sacrilege, but sometimes I’d like to be surprised! Not all the time, but every so often, just to keep things interesting. It would be great to get some authors together and draw straws on who has to write a crazily unexpected ending. I’d be more than willing to contribute.