When I was a teenager, around 15, my Dad was diagnosed with a neurological disease. I didn’t really tell anyone…not because it was a secret, more because it just wasn’t relevent. Whenever people would find out, they would say to me, “how come you never told me?”. This has always been a challenge for me because I don’t believe that these challenges are relevant to my relationship with the majority of people I interact with. If you were close to me in my life, you would know. I never waste my information and emotion on people who I feel are not invested in my happiness. I’ll never forget when my guidance counsellor at high school told me about another student whose mother had the same disease. I was so angry, because first I thought, “but I didn’t invite you into that part of my life” and second because I thought how dare she out another student, that was not her information to tell.
Some people call it private or guarded, I call it respectful. I would never assume anything about anyone, nor divulge information that is theirs to tell. My story is mine and it is in my hands to decide who has that information. There is nothing worse in my mind than giving out information that is not yours to tell. I find people like that untrustworthy and not people I want to be around.
So I had dinner with someone DH and I are friendly with tonight. He told me about his struggles, which I didn’t appreciate as it came across as whining. As soon as he was done sharing some very personal information, he dove into asking why DH and I don’t have children. Almost as if, “well I’ve told you my struggles, now you tell me yours”. Sorry, doesn’t work that way with me.
If I wanted people to know about my struggles, I would tell them. I hate being backed into a corner and I hate the assumption that my life is an open book. It isn’t! Nothing worse than someone who uses their own drama to set the scene and then looks to you to share as a form of reciprocation but is really prying into your life.
I strongly believe that not everyone needs your whole story. You need to ensure that your story is your to tell and that means telling those you trust, those who respect your story as yours. My infertility is not the latest piece of juicy gossip.