I’ve been thinking about my prior post regarding being in the closet about my writing. I realized that a lot of my life I’ve played a game of hiding in plain sight.
My father is a very demanding, critical person and most of my childhood I spent basically trying to be out of his line of vision. I had an older brother who was an athlete, so that made my goal of invisibility pretty easy. He got all the attention, all the criticism, and my father’s pretty sexist, so of course his focus was on his boy. It worked out well for me. I got to be a dreamer and avoided the whip (symbolic, not literal).
It worked in school, too. I was pretty enough and charming enough to go right under teachers’ radars. I didn’t shine and I didn’t fail. I perfected being overlooked. Teachers never remembered me from year to year. I got very good at not being memorable.
It worked in my culture. I was versed enough in Bible Belt stuff to know the “right” answers and good enough with words and language to say what someone wanted to hear without telling a lie. Someone would ask where I went to church and I’d say, “I grew up at First Pres downtown.” They assumed I still went there, and I didn’t lie about my church attendance.
I admit, I’m so used to hiding in plain sight that it has only just occurred to me that at times this might be the wrong thing to do. Not just cowardly, but actually wrong.
But I’ll tell you what, it’s damn safe.
It’s kept me safe for a long time.
So, yeah, that’s something to think about. It’s a habit and it’s been very adaptive for me. I wouldn’t be a writer now if I hadn’t been so good at hiding in plain sight. Then again…believing that you’re never going to be accepted for who you really are kind of sucks. Before I die, I’d like to live in the open.
I’m old enough now to give some thought as to how I should go about doing that.