The Cover Up

I had an unexplainable flashback to my early childhood the other day.

For some reason, I was thinking about an object that sat on the back of our toilet when I was barely out of diapers. The object looked like a beautiful doll with a large, crocheted skirt, and I thought she was stunning. So stunning, in fact, that I was devastated when my mother told me that I couldn’t play with her because she wasn’t a toy but instead was a toilet paper cover.

She said the skirt was so full because it covered an extra roll of toilet paper.

Her explanation confused me. Why would someone waste a perfectly good doll on toilet paper? But even more curious to me was why we needed to hide the extra roll since there was already a clearly visible one of the holder next to the toilet. If toilet paper was that embarrassing, shouldn’t all of it be covered?

My mom couldn’t answer my questions, and, in hindsight, she probably had the same questions I had. The doll/toilet paper cover thing was definitely not my no-nonsense, practical mother’s style. I’m guessing that it was probably a gift from someone, so Mom felt compelled to use it. My hypothesis is backed up by the fact that the thing never resurfaced when we moved a couple of years later.

I’m not sure why I remembered the mysterious toilet paper cover more than fifty years after I last saw it. But I do know what it represents to me: the tendency for some people to hide what they don’t want others to see by creating distractions. These individuals also shut down anyone who asks questions about what is actually under the full skirt.

Hiding anything is generally problematic, but it can also be particularly traumatic for people like me who question everything and who value transparency.

Over the past few years, I had to deal with a person who wanted to shut down my questions while simultaneously surround herself with people who would swear the object on the back of the toilet was simply a doll with a big skirt and was most certainly not covering up something like toilet paper.

It took its toll on me. I questioned my questions, my self worth, my skills, and my expertise. I could clearly see the toilet paper and wanted to know why it was hidden. But when I asked, I had my hand slapped again, and again, and again and had to deal with a chorus of the hand slapper’s loyal followers who practically chanted “There’s nothing to see here. Just go along to get along.”

I know they probably all saw the toilet paper but were in self preservation mode. I just can’t do that. It’s not who I am. If I don’t call out the hidden toilet paper, I’m fairly certain my brain will explode.

Thankfully, the people I most respect affirmed my questions about the toilet paper and my integrity. They held me up when I would have otherwise crashed. They are what kept me sane.

As I write this, I realize that individuals who don’t know anything about the situation are probably wondering why I am writing something so cryptic, but I have my reasons.

First, a lot of people have asked me why I haven’t been writing. The truth is, when you are beaten down, it’s hard to do anything but survive. For the past three years, I was just trying to survive.

Secondly, I want to emphasize the importance of surrounding yourself with people who build you up instead of tear you down and are willing to look under the big full skirt with you to see what is really there.

And most importantly, I want to publicly state that I have put that entire situation behind me. One of the people who didn’t let me fall actually offered me a path to get away from the toilet paper deniers. I am now walking down it, starting to heal, and starting to write again.

Soon, the situation I left will just be a memory like the weird toilet paper doll cover thing on the back of the toilet, It will continue to fade as more important and current issues occupy my brain. But I know I will still take out the memory from time to time, brush it off, and keep asking questions. One of those questions will always be why so many people denied seeing the toilet paper because, if they had, it could have been used to clean up the load of crap they were also ignoring.

About Trina Bartlett

I live in the Eastern Panhandle of WV, with one dog, two cats, and a husband who works strange hours. I can generally be found wandering through the woods my dog, playing in and planting in dirt, and generally stirring things up.

Posted on December 11, 2022, in My life, people, Work, writing and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Good to read from gig again!!

  2. Glad you are on the upturn. ever wonder why I retired early?
    my dad once enlightened me: “the world is overpopulated with
    a..holes! some are just bigger than others”

    ever wonder why an investment in tissue paper
    is a veryproductive one?

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