With Halloween coming up tomorrow, I thought it would be a good time to talk about skeletons… skeletons in the closet, to be specific.
Those of you who have been reading my blog probably think, with the amount of oversharing I do, that there can’t possibly be any skeletons left in my particular closet. I think you are right. I think I’ve pretty much outed any old bones that have been lurking amongst the dust bunnies.
That hasn’t always been the case, though. I haven’t always been so good at being transparent. I guess being transparent makes me more of a ghost than a skeleton, doesn’t it? Either way… I should probably find a house to haunt.
Anywho, there have been times in my life when I have stuffed the secrets into the darkness. Part of my motivation was that I couldn’t understand why anyone else would be interested in my dark and moldy internal life. You might think this is a valid point, but since you are still reading, I guess you find some fascination with my skeletons.
Another reason my skeletons were not familiar with the light of day for so long has to do with my shame and embarrassment with being so different from the rest of the world. It was easier for me to pretend that the oddities weren’t there if I kept them hidden. When I was hiding my abnormality from the rest of the world, I was trying to hide it from myself. Unsuccessfully, of course. In fact, skeletons become scarier when they are relegated to the back of your mind… or the back of your closet.
When I was working, it was more important that I try to fit in with others in my work world. A skeleton was a weakness… a reason I was not good enough for my position. In some ways, as I advanced in my career, I saw the fallacy of that approach. As I learned more about what was going on in other people’s lives, I realized that everyone has their skeletons. Some secrets are more toxic and difficult to manage than others. Some people are just better than others at ignoring secrets. Some people are better at making peace with their skeletons.
Mine weren’t such horrible skeletons. Still, it was hard for me to let them show. I never wanted to be needy or difficult. On the other hand, I am a pretty open person with my feelings. I think most people who have known me for even a short time can tell how I feel at any given moment. I am one of those people who physically can’t control tears. I weep easily and don’t seem to be able to prevent the tears from flowing when my physiology demands that I cry. The magic of modern psychotropic drugs has relieved this problem somewhat in recent years, but, overall, my entire demeanor is just one big mood ring. I’m sure I seemed even weirder and crazier to people around me who didn’t know about the skeletons I kept locked in the closet. My emotional reactions to everyday life must have often seemed wildly out of proportion to the actual circumstances.
As I’ve matured and let go of my career, I’ve also let go of some of the pressure I put on myself to conform. It can be difficult to be different sometimes. It can even be scarier than skeletons some of the time. It can be uncomfortable. Sometimes I can be just living my ordinary life and realize that everyone around me is staring at me with an appalled, “WTF” look on their faces. On the other hand, as my father used to tell me, “They can kill you, but they can’t eat you.” I’m not sure why that was comforting, but it was.
All in all, skeletons are important. It is kind of fun to know that I can shock people every now and again. I’m usually predictable to a tedious degree. Maybe the ”WTF” look is a good thing. A skeleton holds a person upright. It gives structure and shape to a lifeform.
I used to think that, if I had the courage to pull the skeletons out of the closet, the brittle old bones would crumble to dust right in front of me. For better or worse, they would be gone. I’ve found that isn’t true. Even though I don’t work so hard to keep my secrets hidden anymore, my skeletons still provide a part of my framework. My skeletons help make me who I am. Since I kinda like who I am, I’m okay with that…right down to the bones!
What skeleton in your closet have you released? Did it help you or hurt you to let people in on the secret? Please share your perspective by leaving a comment. In the alternative, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have a sensationally spooky day!