Telling the Smothered (Tiny) Truth
In plays and in movies and in the compulsively addictive TV show Revenge, families always have terrible secrets that they can't come clean about: ill-gotten funds, affairs, murders. Now, I just don't have that much big, sexy dirt, but what I do have are a lot of boring, small situations with attendant feelings that I don't allow myself to voice—usually because I hope the problem will get better or go away. And yet, finally, after months and months, speaking up to, say, your son's violin teacher about the fact that a 3-year-old can't stand still for 10 minutes (and certainly not with a fragile rental instrument in his hands) engenders such dreamy relief that you must do it. You must! And the violin teacher must do whatever she was going to do in response: feel criticized and betrayed or decide to work in four-minute intervals with plenty of potty breaks. Tiny, smothered truths are hangnails of our emotional lives. They distress you more than you ever think they will. End them.