Daily prompt: Where better?


I have the perfect hideout inside my head. Or possibly my heart. Or even my spleen (but not my tonsils or my appendix, which are long gone). I’ve never felt the need to locate it exactly – would it be seemly to nit-pick about those gifts bestowed upon us by the gods? – but I know it’s there, instantly accessible and closed to all but me.

I recognised the existence of this hideout when I was four. I can say that with absolute certainty because I remember the moment. My mum was walking me to school – or perhaps I should say running me to school, she was definitely in a hurry. We were on our way down the slight hill between Faulkner and Dangar Sts on an unpaved footpath similar in texture to a clay tennis court and bordered by bunchy straggles of grass, when the realisation popped into my head: nobody knows what’s going on inside me unless I tell them.

I discussed this concept later with my dad, sitting on his knee after dinner, and he explained that this was all down to my unique individuality. I sort of got it – nobody else is exactly the same as me – but the big excitement for me was knowing that the kids making my life a misery at school couldn’t know what I was thinking: that part of me was inaccessible to them. What a relief!

There are two sides to everything, of course. Hiding out in your head is not exactly sociable. But it’s stood me in good stead over the years, and it’s a bit late to castigate myself over the possibility that spilling my guts on occasion might have made life easier. Can’t imagine it, though. I would have felt so STUPID!



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13 Responses to Daily prompt: Where better?

  1. Today was the first time I decided to participate in this daily prompt. Though it seems that lately I haven’t needed any prompting to think of things to write about, this was fun. I will definitely do it more. I enjoyed your inner hideout story. I am a vet with associative amnesia, so I hideout in my head a lot. It’s not what I wrote my story about, but I can surely relate.

  2. Wow. I got that message at about the same time, but a little different. “Keep your thoughts to yourself,” my mom said. It really took a long time for me to understand that expressing them made me vulnerable in ways and to people that should not have any access to what is truly me. It’s my silent “Fuck you. I don’t have to play.” Last time I invoked it I was in a meeting with a couple of colleagues who hated their students and a man from another university who was doing an accreditation report on our program. The colleagues ranted about how horrible the students were, both of these very ugly women. I didn’t agree with them, but I saw that if I said anything at all it would look like I was sucking up to the guy interviewing us — it was a no win situation and I wouldn’t be believed. All I could do was wait until it was over and get out of there.

  3. Aunt Beulah says:

    I, too, keep my thoughts to myself, though I don’t remember when I realized the benefits of judging to whom I talk and what I talk about. As a school principal, I soon learned the advantage of closing my mouth and listening until angry parents ran down. Often, as I listened so demurely, I entertained myself with a mental image of vigorously and repeatedly slapping their yapping mouths. It helped.

  4. kimannwil says:

    I think I will remember this post of yours for a very long time.

  5. bkpyett says:

    Love the way you express yourself, Helen, sharing these inner most thoughts. I probably have tended to share too freely,being left feeling exposed and stupid!

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