We’ve got a new teacher for English when I was in grade 10. It was only a few months left for our public exams, so most of us were worried how the new teacher would be. She was slim-built and had a squeaky voice. She had an interesting way of teaching which made a lot of us happy because our earlier teacher was not so good. Once I noticed that she had some bruises on her hand during our catch-up session in the teachers room. When she is on the dais and delivering her lecture it is difficult to notice those cuts because she had a fairly dark skin. The marks were not distinctively visible from a distance. This repeated 2 -3 times in the six months she taught us. Our schooling ended and we moved on with our lives.
Few years later, I accidentally met her in a mall. Yet again, I noticed bruises on her hands. I asked her if we could have lunch together. She sceptically agreed for lunch, we took one of the corner tables at a restaurant. We ordered food and were talking about other students from our class. The food arrived, we had our lunch and that is when I asked her about the bruises. I admitted I noticed them earlier too. She seemed surprised. “Mam, I understand you may not be able to share it with me. I hope things are not as bad as they seem. Please Mam, do something about it. Talk to someone. I have a feeling you are hiding your pain from everyone around you and that is surely not going to help much“, before I could finish, she started to cry. That was the first time I had some one elder than me crying before me. I didn’t know what to do. She paused a bit and said, “Aastha, life isn’t what we think it is. My husband is abusive but I don’t speak about it because if he decides to leave me, then my son would be the most impacted one. So, I keep it to myself”. She left and I never met her again.
Hiding is something we all do. During childhood hiding is for the sole purpose of not getting scolded for our mischief, but as we grow it is mostly because of the fear of being judged or misunderstood. If we observe carefully we would see numerous examples. But, is hiding good? Well, it is a very broad question. Obviously, we do not want to share every information of our life with every other person. We have close pals and not so close ones. Mostly our close pals are the ones who know the most because we trust them. There are certain times in our lives when we feel not to share some particular part or an episode of our life with anyone. Trust me this only works if that information cannot cause harm. Like in the case of my teacher, there are many men and women who fall prey for abuse. Especially in these situations keeping what happened to ourselves in no good. I can vouch for this because of my own experience.
I can give a million reasons why I haven’t shared that I was suffering with my parents, friends or anyone. No matter how much I convince myself that what I did was fine, I know it is not. More and more I buried myself, the more people did not care. Usually when people hide, most of them expect someone would come and help them out of the situation. Unfortunately what happens is the opposite. If you want to hide, the world will let you do so and forget about you. No one would come to help you unless they really care and of course if you had someone who really cared may be you would have opened up? Is that what you are thinking? May be.. but this is a vicious circle, that has no ending. Do not blame yourself for the abuse or embarrassment. We have to speak for ourselves when in need. Hiding under the shell does not bring anything good. It is like a closed container which would never see light unless someone makes an attempt.
Some wise man told me, “If you have decided to hide something, you should take full responsibility of the consequences and should have the courage to fight alone“. This is very true. Say, someone is in an abusive marriage, only if they share with someone, they would find solace, help and most important of all someone who can vouch for the suffering if need be. Most of the cases that are pending in the court regarding abusive marriages take a long time only because no one ever knew about that. It takes time for Honorable Court to do justice. Hiding information from our loved ones is called protective buffering. Though it might help in short run, it only creates stress and distress in the long run.
This week we are going to write on various aspects of ‘hiding’. I am sure each one of us are going to present a unique perspective of hiding. Keep reading…