We all know about the elephant in the living room, the one that everyone is walking around while claiming there is no elephant. One elephant is named DENIAL. “That’s not a problem..it never happened…he will grow out of it????” DENIAL is used to cope with a realitythat scares the hell out of most people. DENIAL is not alone. Secret, Shame, Guilty ,Rape and Rage usually hang out with DENIAL. Welcome to the elephant corral!! I come from a very large family (12 siblings) and both of my parents came from large families. Family reunions and the uninvited elephants, what to do? An elephant corral was the only solution for DENIAL and all of his friends.
At family gatherings, I loved to hang out at the kitchen table with my Mom and her sisters. Sprinkled in the conversation about recipes, and who died , my aunts shared tiny bits of scandals and secrets. My little girl curiosity wanted more information, but these tantalizing conversations were quickly squashed. Prickly realities did not deserve a place at the table. It was OK to say: “Uncle Joe likes his liquor.”, but not o.k. to say “Uncle Joe is a raging alcoholic and reeks of whiskey”. The elephants were out in the corral, so it was easier to create alternative realities, especially if a child insisted otherwise. Sister Carol was not mean and did not hit students, never mind you saw her do these things with your own eyes. The message was the adult version of the truth was the only acceptable version.. All of the elephants in the corral could not change this fact. I have since learned my senses and perceptions are quite trustworthy.
Big bull elephants, like rape and shame, were almost impossible to make disappear. Several generations had to repress or deny their truth. Uncle Harry was to be avoided, and we were reminded to not be alone with him. Uncle Harry was “different” and did bad things. I learned the truth about Uncle Harry when he exposed himself to me. I wish the truth about Uncle Harry had been explained to me. I was a second generation victim. Uncle Harry had done bad things to my Mom and her younger sister. Elephants can pass between generations.
Culturally there are topics, i.e. Death, capable of starting an elephant stampede that no one hears or sees. Even DENIAL is useless in the face of death. Current events have convinced me that people can, and do, ignore elephants in living rooms all across America, especially when he is as subtle as a bull in a china shop. Forgive the mixed metaphors! See no evil, hear no evil? And to set the record straight he is not an elephant , he is an ass who tweets.