Opinion: No more taboos! Why do we need to be honest with ourselves in the end

opinion
Stop the taboos! Why do we need to be honest with ourselves in the end

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The unofficial taboo list covers topics such as sex, money and death. Adrienne Friedlaender doesn’t stick to that anymore.

We consider ourselves progressive, open-minded, enlightened and we proclaim: We can talk about anything. But when it comes to sex, money or death, we are still silent, as if lightning struck the center of speech.

What is actually the most important thing in life?

The last year has brought me back to what is most important in my life. I was wondering: What is good for me, what is important to me in life? What do I want to leave behind? And one of my answers to the last question was: blindly following social rules like “Don’t talk about it!”

The key moment was the experience of communing with the subject of the taboo of death. Met Elisabeth at my father’s birthday party. I am happy every time I meet her. And of course we mothers also talk about our children. But when I asked about my boys this time, the cake got stuck in my throat. Your daughter was born the same year as my number two son. But Merle jumped out the window of the clinic she had been admitted to for depression six months earlier. She is dead.

Everyone in this coffee group knew it. But no one even mentioned that syllable. How would I feel sitting here, with all the people praising the butter cake, while every bite, every conversation was a challenge for me? There was no way I could tell Elisabeth about my son who had just graduated from high school and was making plans for the future while her daughter took her own life. Death is on the Don’t Talk About It List. But my feelings said otherwise. So I asked, “How do you live with this loss?” Tears welled up in Elizabeth’s eyes. Then the words flowed as if she waited for someone to finally open the gates to her soul.

Why don’t we talk more honestly to each other?

Family and children, work and money, love and sex, illness and death – these are life problems that affect us all. Wouldn’t it be an enrichment for all of us to talk about it more openly and honestly with one another?

Of course, you can also fall flat on your face. Before I moved, I asked my new neighbor how much she paid for her tenement house, knowing that it was exactly the same as the one I lived in. She looked at me as if I had asked about her favorite sexual practices and quickly disappeared in the doorway with the words “I don’t want to talk about this.” It’s a pity, because the information you provided would help me get an idea of ​​what price I could sell my house for. The question “How much do you earn?” it is just as shocking to many. For example, it would be useful for women returning to work after parental leave to find out how much and where they can earn.

Even more spicy: the topic of sex. Despite all our openness, it is usually difficult for us to be honest about it. It would help you feel more normal and safe with your own needs. Am I normal if I feel like having sex three times a day? Or is it so amazing that she doesn’t feel like it at all? It’s definitely worth considering carefully who you are lying to and why. Before you perform a somersault with the apparent joy of having sex by a chandelier, you should realize that you may never come down from there.

I am no longer silent because of false deliberation, shame or fear.

So wouldn’t life be much easier if we dared to tell the truth? – or at least be as close to her as possible? It sounds like a great freedom to me. I stopped trying to guess or guess thoughts. I am asking for. And I am no longer silent because of false deliberation, shame or fear. Because I have experienced how good it is to show and experience real sympathy. And I find it very enriching to have real contact with other people, honest and open.

Adrienne Friedlaender, 59, is a freelance journalist from Hamburg and her first book, Welcome to the Friedlaenders! landed a bestseller four years ago. Her current book deals with alleged taboos: “Is it forbidden, can I do it?”

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