|©Cavendish & Fenech|
The two can be related. For me, that's certainly the case. I feel angry that there are so many parts of myself I feel the need to hide. From my spiritual beliefs when I'm at work, to some of my more painful/shameful emotions, even here in the relative anonymity of the interwebs.
My belief, right or wrong, is that if I were to reveal those things, I would be judged and found wanting. Two trains of thought come from that.
Firstly, is it me that actually does the judging, rather than others?
I know this is true to a degree, but I don't think it's the whole story. There is one friend whom I haven't spoken to for about three months now, because I felt so judged and dismissed by her when I tried to reveal some of my feelings. I think she was trying to reassure me, by telling me that everyone feels some of these things, but I just felt unheard. I felt she was judging me as a whiner, telling me everyone has the same problems. But they really don't.
My son is four and a half, but has the body of a child a year younger than that. And some of his development is delayed to the point that he's just starting to do things most kids do by nine months old. He is still physically incapable of moving on his own. That's not the same as a bratty kid who just doesn't want to leave their parents side, but might be persuaded if the game is fun enough!
Secondly, there's the question: so what?
So what if people judge us and disapprove of us? Would it really be the end of the world? Someone asked me something along those lines on youtube when I said about being in the broom closet. Once again, it may depend on the circumstances. With my friend, as I say, it means I no longer feel close to her, though I hope I'll be able to resolve it at some point. As for hiding my spirituality from my work colleagues, the area I work in is extremely conservative and male dominated. It's bad enough being a woman in a man's world without also being the "weirdo witch"!
To give this some context, one of my co-workers said she doesn't believe in yoga. I mean, what's to believe in? Yoga exists, at the very least as a set of physical exercises that improve strength, balance and flexibility. There's even scientific evidence of the benefits of some of the more spiritual practices, from gratitude to meditation. If someone can disbelieve yoga, what on earth would they make of tarot reading, oracles, spells, and the divine?
And yet, censoring myself all the time, worrying what people will think, rehearsing justifications in my head... how unproductive is that?
So I'll share a little secret here. I worry that my son will hate me for hiding him! I don't do it on purpose, or for that reason. But, for example, we went to a birthday party at the weekend and didn't take him, though there were other kids there. It wasn't to hide him, but just because none of us would have enjoyed it if he'd gone. The journey was too long, the adults too boring (from a child's perspective), and the children too boring (from my perspective, as if he'd come I would have had to spend the whole time with him, as he cannot move by himself). Instead, he went to a local soft play with a trained physio, and had lots of fun.
But I still felt guilty about it...