Just watched an interview on "The View" (and, no, I don't watch The View every day, but often have it on in the living room while I'm working on the computer and will go watch an interview if I'm interested) with Mimi Alford - a woman nearing 70 who had an affair with J.F.K. and wrote a book called "Once Upon a Secret" It's nothing new - we know J.F.K. was a hound-dog and in retrospect the Camelot mythology is terribly flawed.
What intrigued me was the line of questioning by Barbara Walters - someone who I have a deep respect for on many levels. I'm sure that Barbara Walters knows Caroline Kennedy and knew the whole family. I'm sure she interviewed most of them over the years. She is more personally invested in the Kennedy family than most. And she was defensive for them - and possibly for those people who watch the show and have the same viewpoint. She questioned the reasoning behind Ms. Alford writing the book and many times mentioned that she would sell a lot of books, implying somehow that the author was after big bucks.
Well, I have to say that some of the interview struck a cord with me. Ms. Alford spent many years hiding a somewhat shameful affair that she had and that affected her entire life. She did something stupid when she was young and then hid it - something that undoubtedly made her a very different person than she would have been had the most powerful man in the world not seduced her - or even just allowed it to happen.
Barbara Walters asked if Ms. Alford thought at all about Caroline Kennedy and her children and how this would affect them. And Ms. Alford responded with the fact that this is HER story. This affected HER. She has spent all these years hiding this secret and when outed in someone else's book in 2003, decided she needed to tell her own story.
As you all know, I have a tendency to speak my mind here on my blog, and have put posts up that hurt other people's feelings. I know what it is like to need to tell your story and then have someone else react badly to it.
So here is the question again - if there are parts of your history that reveal others in a less than perfect light, where does your right to tell your story end and their right to keep a secret begin? Should this woman NOT have written about her story, not liberated herself by telling her truth? Not empowered herself and exposed the exploitive power of a young president? Just to protect the feelings of his family - who already KNOW he was not the most faithful husband?
What proprietry do we have over the story of our past? If a person feels the need to tell their truth so as to liberate that part of their spirit that has been hiding, what right does someone have to criticize it?
Just wondering ...
I guess what it comes down to really is it is a personal choice. I aplaud Alford for writing her book, for letting go of all the pain and finally being real about it. But I know it's not for everyone, and I know she will be criticized. I hope the criticism doesn't take away from the liberation.