I’m permanently bruised from being elbowed, nudged and kicked under tables, but it makes no difference. In my world, Red lights always mean Go. As soon as a topic is designated ‘off-limits’, that’s my cue.
Part of it is coming from a straight-talking culture, where you learn to say it like it is. ‘It’ can range from telling strangers they have spinach in their teeth to warning your best friend that she’s dating a psychopath. Sometimes it’s honesty. At other points, it’s more like cruelty with gift-wrap.
Part of it also stems from the knowledge that life is short. Too short to beat around the bush, too short to make small talk and too short to waste time tiptoeing around elephants. If something needs saying, then say it. If there’s an issue somewhere, then (in the immortal words of Delia) ‘let’s be ‘aving you.’ From sex to politics, bowel problems to spiritual health, I’ll go wading in where wiser mortals often fear to tread.
But there are some areas that even I feel unsure of. Places I haven’t been. Pathways too dark to venture, even with a torchlight. Sexual abuse, for example. Here is a darkness that isolates and brands its victims. To name and speak of it takes great courage. But it is a way of breaking the shame.
This week, Lesley’s been blogging about her own experiences with childhood sexual abuse. If this is something that affects you or someone you know, (and odds are it does) then her posts make a great starting point.