I didn’t tell you that? I’m laughing with a colleague-turned-friend. Oh, I was so concussed. But you can’t ever tell so-and-so. I felt so bad and I didn’t want them to know so I was trying to act like it was fine.
I was maybe a month or two into a new job when I took a nasty fall on my rollerblades and did some damage to my body and my brain. Because I was new to the organization and probably just because of who I am as a person, I didn’t tell anyone at work because I wanted to show that I could handle things and be good at my job and wanting to sleep all day definitely didn’t make me feel like I could handle things or be good at my job.
I was recounting this story recently when they said, You know, you could have said something. Everyone would have understood that.
It seemed so strikingly obvious to me to hear those words from my friend years later. But in the moment, I remember being so adamant (and also concussed) that I did everything in my power to keep things together, or at least hold onto the impression of “togetherness.” And while ultimately, nobody found out and while ultimately, it didn’t matter in the grand scheme of things, this recent conversation did bring me pause.
Everyone would have understood that.
How often do we hold a memory close to our chest for fear of misunderstanding or rejection? How often do we curate our lives and our stories and our truths to fit a narrative or to hold onto some distant notion of emotional safety? How often do we convince ourselves that hiding helps even when our own lived experiences tell us the opposite is true?
Would it not be better to give someone the chance to be understanding?
To give someone a chance to respond with goodness.