The Other Silent Killer

by Danielle N. Hall

03/17/2018

I don’t watch much television and I’ve missed many movies, but I’m not all the way green…I have seen a few. One that comes to mind is Madea’s Big Happy Family. As with any other Tyler Perry movie, there were many things going on once. However, there’s a particular scene that I recall. “Mr. Brown loses a lot of blood during his surgery and the doctor asks Cora to donate some. When she does, she finds out that she doesn’t have the same blood type as him, implying that he may not be her real, biological father. At dinner later on that night, Tammy and Kimberly have a vicious argument that leads to Tammy revealing that Kimberly is Byron’s birth mother, having had him when she was 13 years old. Byron storms out of the house, angry that this secret was kept from him.”

They say that art imitates life. The truth is that Mr. Brown and Kimberly aren’t the only ones with family secrets: the other silent killer. More often than is acknowledged, families perpetuate lies and deception: choking the life out of the truth in order to spare the image of one. How many children grew up thinking that someone was their older sister only for the actual truth to be that said “sister” was actually their biological mother and who they had been thinking was their mother was actually their grandmother? How many Mr. Brown scenarios are there where people have assigned someone the title of “Daddy” that has no trace of the man’s DNA? The truth is this saving of an image has done more harm than good.

When I had barely entered adulthood, I gave birth to my first child. I was 21 years old and her biological father was 22. We weren’t fresh out of high school, but we were young. Things did not work out and we went our separate ways when our daughter was still an infant. Time progressed and I later married my husband. Now, my daughter’s father has always been active in her life, so she has been blessed with two dads. When she was about 4 years old I explained the difference between her biological father and her stepfather. Some may argue that she was too young, but you’d have to know my children to understand my decision to divulge when I did. She understood and I was never posed with any questions about it because I was straightforward with her. One time, our household had gone to the movies and we saw my daughter’s biological dad outside. When she saw him, she excitedly said: “My other daddy!”. I must admit that was a bit embarrassing, but it was her truth: she has two dads.

Sometimes our truths can be embarrassing or humiliating, but hiding it can be devastating. Suppose one begins dating someone and things get serious and marriage becomes a goal…and then a reality. Then, you through some very unusual way discover that you two are actually blood relatives…close ones at that. Do you see how problematic and destructive perpetuating a lie can be: all for the sake of keeping secrets and saving images?

Let’s not ignore the other proverbial elephant in the room. How about the sexual violation by a family member? This is certainly not foreign or unusual. It’s a sad truth that I am unfortunately very familiar with…more familiar than I want to be. It is common for survivors to not speak of what has happened because they are often muzzled by fear of other’s opinions. In some cases when the survivor does come forward, the common response is “What happens in this house stays in this house.” If you have a perverted individual who obviously lacks self control, why would you not make it known to spare others enduring the same offense? Is it because he’s the bread winner or because he’s everyone’s “favorite uncle”? The image of the perpetrator is salvaged, but there is a wreck in the internal environment of the survivor: her/his voice is suffocated and identity is often lost.

Maybe the family secret doesn’t involve any offense. Maybe a mom or dad didn’t graduate from high school and yet they keep it a secret for fear of others labeling her/him as a failure. Now let me be clear, experience is a great teacher and we can learn a lot in life from experience. High school graduation does not mean that you have arrived. The point I’m making is that in many areas in our lives we fall short and then we play the pretend game because we worry about other’s opinions. When I drafted my father’s obituary in December last year, I was adamant about telling his truth. He spent a lot of years of his life concerned about what others thought, though he often said he didn’t. My dad graduated high school at the age of 21 and even MY existence is a result of one of dad’s unfavorable choices. However, it was his truth and he suffered silently being concerned about his image. In his last couple of months, a family member visited him in the hospital and essentially cursed him. I was livid and it was obvious that it affected how he felt about himself. I discerned what he wasn’t speaking, but was yet communicating. In a rare type of discussion I had with him while I was heading to work one day, I told him that unforgiveness was a sin even when don’t forgive ourselves. He said he never thought of it that way and his voice became more lively.

People can be so brutal sometimes. What I have come to live most about my life, is that I discovered the liberty that Jesus avails to us to walk in. Whom the Son sets free is free indeed. So many are bound by the guilt and shame of life choices that they die a slow death inside. This is not the intent of God. “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty [emancipation from bondage, true freedom].” 2 Corinthians 3:17 (AMP)

I implore you on today to be free and I pray that the spirit of liberty will reign in your family so that there will be no more death of the truth as lies are nurtured to save images!

Advertisements

Unnecessary Roughness 

by Danielle N. Hall

6/2/16

MOMENT OF THOUGHT:

Just before reaching the office this morning, the phrase “unnecessary roughness” crossed my mind. It led me to begin to think of how we are sometimes too hard on ourselves. This unfortunate fact can be attributed to (but isn’t limited to) past rejection or hurt from others, embracing the standards of others, or having a propensity to please people. In these situations we tend to lose ourselves and the inclination to love ourselves.


MOMENT OF TRUTH:

For years, I focused the majority of my energy on comforting and loving others and sacrificing for them. It took some time and courage for me to decide that I was going to start making sure I invested in my own happiness and well-being, too. The above picture represents one of such investments. It was taken at the Red Door Spa on my birthday last year. I’ve made an executive decision that this would be a consistent treat for me. Sadly, though, when I initially made the decision I actually felt a little bit guilty and I started to beat up on myself. This is because I’d grown accustomed to neglecting me. I began thinking about how finances are limited and how that money could be better utilized for a household need. Then when I began to reflect on how relaxing and rejuvenating the Red Door experience was, the guilt started to fade away. There are other ways that I’ve been less than kind to myself in the past, but I’m learning to be more loving and caring to me.

MOMENT OF THANKS:

There is a multitude of ways to be kind and gentle to ourselves. Consider the following activity that I thought of this morning:

Write a “Thank You” note to yourself. This may be a little unusual because often when we reflect we focus on struggles, headaches, heartaches, and bad choices. Today, however, I encourage you to do something strange for a change. While you write, sing to yourself the following lyrics: “Loving you is easy ’cause you’re beautiful.”

Dirty Little Secrets & The Little White Lie

by Danielle N. Hall

4/26/16

image

I can’t believe what “he” did to me
It’s truly a crying shame
Who is this “he” you might be asking
Well, there are too many to name

“He” touched me when I was little
In places that were meant for my spouse
I was nervous AND I was afraid
Yet I remained as quiet as a mouse

“He” asked me “Are you ready?”
Inside, I had screamed “NO!”
I wanted to run, but was paralyzed by fear
And I could not manage to go

“He” didn’t have a knife
Nor did “he” hold a gun to my head
“He” stood there ready to conquer
But used manipulation instead

“He” whispered in my minor ears
And said “If it’s all night, it’s all right!”
The next day we entered a secluded place that was void of both safety and light

“He” kissed me and then “he” asked
“Do you want me to put it in?”
I was very confused, yet I refused
However, the next day “he” tried again

Now, this time I didn’t refuse
And decided “Ok. We’ll try.”
Once again I’d been manipulated
But now by another guy

When it was over, I thought to myself
“Ok. I made it through.”
Later I thought: “What in the world have I done? What did I get myself into?”

I actually thought “he” loved me
How silly was I and what was I thinking?
I was in too deep, and in a deep sleep…
Was intoxicated, yet I wasn’t drinking

Exposed to so much before it was time, but convinced I had things under control
To myself I had lied. I was broken inside, but on the outside I appeared to be whole.

My smile is now real and there’s a difference in how I feel.
What I’ve shared is a piece of my “THEN”
My history had me bound and holding my head down, but NOW I’ve gotten my smile again

That monster called “he”, may have stolen something from me…something that wasn’t for the taking
But God’s restored the years and dried those inner tears
Inside my heart is no longer breaking

I’m daily renewed with a new point of view
I’m still here to tell my story
Those bad things that happened will work for my good and, somehow, God will get the glory

I could be bitter, I could be depressed
As a matter of fact that was the old me
I’ve gotten my joy back and a new hold on life
I thank God I’m totally free!!!

The secret is out…no more shame or doubt. From now on I vow to be bold.
I will hold my head high…in spite of the fact…
This is one of the hardest true stories I’ve ever told.