I can tell you almost anything, but I can’t tell you everything.
I wish I could. That it were that simple. I wish that I could just open up and tell you all of it. Everything that’s troubling me. Everything that excites me. The interesting parts, the boring parts. Everything in between.
But I can’t.
Or at least I’m not sure it’s worth it. I’m not sure that if I do tell you all of these things that you won’t react poorly to some of it. Which is your right of course. But sometimes the personal benefit of disclosing something is outweighed by the stress of dealing with the other person’s reaction.
In certain instances, it’s your ethical duty to tell that other person anyway. For example, if it affects them somehow. If it’s something they really ought to know. If you’ve violated their trust or something important has changed without their knowledge, and so they must be informed.
In other situations, however, it doesn’t really have anything to do with them. Maybe it’s letting them know about an inner war you’re waging. An insecurity that keeps you up at night. And when you go to tell them, they shut down. Because they don’t know how to help you. And not knowing how to help you just makes them feel uncomfortable and powerless. And in that discomfort, perhaps they displace it onto you and lash out at you, at just your moment of need.
It happens. Trust me. It happens.
Sometimes people like to act like this sort of thing never happens. But I have clear memories of other people (and not just one person) reacting in just this way, lashing out in response to insecurity. And it’s awful and backfires.
After it happens a few times with the same person, you learn that you can’t tell them about your insecurities.
So in those cases, since you don’t have an obligation to tell them, you don’t. You try to deal with it in house. And you realize they’re not a person you can tell anything to. Disappointing when it happens, though not exactly surprising. Since those people are rare.
There Are Things I’m Not Telling You
Anyway, there are things I’m not telling you. Old injuries that keep me awake at night.
Some of them I’ve tried to tell you and failed. With some of them I wasn’t able to get out the proper words to let you know what I mean. With others, I started and set you off, usually from an irrelevant detail or something that didn’t even matter.
And with a few, we got there, but you got uncomfortable and lashed out.
Sometimes I wonder if I will ever get to tell you those things. Or if my best bet is to wait and hope that time erases them from my memory, crowded out by the minutiae of everyday life, upstaged by smaller concerns.