A few years ago, I went on a little weekend trip with my Dad, his wife and my husband. My dad’s wife had arranged for us to get lavish accommodation at a beautiful luxury resort, because she is a conference organiser. The only caveat was that for the duration of the weekend I had to pretend that I was a client of hers. In practice that meant that I had to pretend not to be related to my Dad. (I’m not proud of this, by the way…)
For the first couple of hours, it was fun. We got a tour of the facilities and I got to play the part of temperamental client. But amazingly soon it started to get really, really hard. I had to call my Dad by his first name, which I kept forgetting to do. So I wound up hardly speaking to him at all, and whenever I did I would blush. When I was asked any questions about my life, I would pause for ages before answering – thinking “if I say this, will it give me away?” Not being able to be open about such a basic family relationship made it impossible for me to ever relax, and the tension kept building hour by hour so that despite the 3 star meals, spa treatments and wall to wall luxury, I hated every minute of it and couldn’t wait to leave.
I can’t imagine doing that every day. Yeesh.
I could never do it. I could never not openly be who I am. It is why I was once an outspoken Christian and now am an outspoken atheist. Out I stand. I can do no other.