I have a confession to make.
I’ve recently had a tattoo. It’s not my first, but my only other one was 17 years ago and never sees the light of day now my body is heading for middle age and stays covered! I’ve had it almost a month, but I still haven’t told my parents. Until now, that is, as they read all my blogs… So, yeah, Mom, Dad, I had another tattoo!
It’s ridiculous, isn’t it? I’m a 40-year-old woman. It’s my body and I’m not ashamed – tattoos are so common these days you’re almost weird if you don’t have one. But, there’s just something holding me back from telling them (face to face, at least!); I don’t know what it is – worry, maybe, about their possible disapproval as this one is much more obvious (but can still be hidden, hence why they don’t know yet!)? It’s too late now though!
I got to thinking: why are we so afraid of telling our parents and loved ones about things that we’ve done, even as fully-fledged adults? It must be the fear of disapproval, right? so, sure I’m not the only one to feel that way, I asked some friends if they had any deep, dark secrets that they’ve kept hidden from Mom and Dad, and here are the (anonymous!) answers…
Joining me in the ‘Secret Tattoo‘ club is M, who had a tattoo at 27 and didn’t tell her parents for a while, and L, who got a tattoo on her wrist in 2009… and her Dad still doesn’t know! (Or if he does, he’s never mentioned it) Another L has three tattoos (first one at 16) and a belly button piercing (at 15) and her parents have no idea! She’s petrified that her children will mention them in passing and tries to change the conversation whenever tattoos are mentioned!
Also hiding a piercing is M, who had hers done at the tender age of 33 – and her Dad still doesn’t know, and J waited for her parents to go away for the weekend when she was 17, then got her tongue pierced, while her younger sister went for a belly button piercing! Her parents were not happy when they got home and found out!
Something many of us fear our parents discovering is that we smoke. Mine found out when I and my friends were busted by a teacher at school! Of course, I didn’t stop until years later, but convinced myself my parents never knew, because chewing gum and Impulse disguise everything, don’t they?! (Or maybe I’ve just outed myself for a second time? Sorry, Mom and Dad, I did smoke, but those days are long gone now and I hate it as much as you!). C also quit, but then started up again and was afraid her parents would find out, even though she’s all grown up! The shame!
J is ashamed to tell her parents that she goes to Slimming World! She doesn’t want to have conversations with them about her weight, or feel pressured to ‘perform’, and thinks her parents will scrutinize every little thing she eats or does if they find out. It’s a shame if she really feels they’d be that way; my parents are incredibly supportive of my weightloss efforts – I am lucky!
D told me about a friend of hers who bought a motorbike at the age of 30 and never told his Dad, who was very against them. He even kept it at a friend’s so he wouldn’t find out. He’s now 43, and his Dad is none the wiser! That can’t have been easy to hide.
L’s mum doesn’t even know that she has a blog! She’s been blogging since 2011 and makes some decent money from it, but she hates the thought of her parents reading it. I could never have hidden my blogs from my parents, and they are probably my biggest fans!
But, for all these light-hearted secrets that we grown-ups really should be able to just tell our parents about, some people have some darker ones…
K got pregnant at 24 and didn’t tell her family for ages, despite being in a happy, long-term relationship, and N found out the gender of her baby by accident, thanks to a doctor who didn’t read her notes first and let it slip! She managed to keep it concealed from everyone, and has never told them that she knew.
R arranged to meet her biological dad at the age of 16 without telling her Mum. He turned out to be ‘horrid’; he was on drugs and made threats towards her, so she cut all contact again. She never did tell her Mum or Stepdad. She also reveals that she hid a miscarriage from them eight years ago too.
But my winner for ‘Biggest Secret Keeper’ goes to N, who told me of how she and her husband got married in secret by a guy they found on the internet – almost a year before their big, formal wedding in front of friends and family. Only her brother-in-law and sister-in-law were in on it. Her family don’t know to this day, and still believe they were witnessing the real wedding!
So, there we have some of our shameful secrets. Do you dare to tell me yours?…
With huge thanks to contributions from the following blogs (in no particular order!):