After a couple of hours spent shooting pool with friends and listening to the jukebox in the comforting normalcy of the football club, I arrived home, at 10pm as promised, in my boyfriend’s car – my bike in the boot. To be honest the last forty-five minutes at the club had been uncomfortable as I grew more apprehensive about going back.
My heart thuds and there’s a rushing noise in my ears, like a subway train. A single thought fills my head, ” I HAVE to get away.” My feet pound the asphalt and I risk a lightening glance over my shoulder at my pursuer. “Oh my God, he’s gaining on me!” Panic squeezes me in it’s icy, iron grip and my belief in my ability to outrun him vanishes.
Society has strict ideas about what is acceptable to talk about, and what isn’t. When you chose to break this code of silence, you run the risk of being ridiculed, ostracised, even threatened. If your words make people uncomfortable, to protect themselves – they judge. Suddenly, you find yourself on the outside looking in. This is how the culture of shame keeps its victims mute.
But secrets eat away at you. They weigh you down and, like a cancer, spread to other areas of your life, contaminating, changing, so that eventually, you become a different person. The only way out is to break your silence, before the silence breaks you.
Growing up on an isolated farm in rural Ireland, my childhood memories are largely happy ones. I spent most of my time playing outdoors. Things could have been idyllic but for the inexplicable holes and blanks in my child’s comprehension. Looking past the fresh air and freedom, all was not well in my world.