I have recently read and re-read the journals of my great-great-great grandmother, Lucy Hannah. She writes the whole of volume one from the perspective of a 52-year-old woman who has been one-half (one-third?) of a polygamous (plural) marriage for 20 plus years. And yet, there is absolutely no mention of the domestic arrangement. There is no description of how the marriage worked on a day-to-day or weekly basis. There is no analysis of her feelings about the second wife. In fact, there is no mention of the other wife at all. Lucy has completely omitted her. This in and of itself is the most puzzling and mysterious thing about the journals. In short – what they don’t say. There is an absolute denial of this other person in the journals, which of course, is a narrative (the only narrative?) that Lucy has absolute control over.
I find it mystifying, and then I start to think about all the omissions of my own life. What do we tell about ourselves and what do we leave out? What is the name for the act of leaving out what is obvious? How to frame this silence? What meaning do we give it? What are the things we leave out on a regular basis? What am I leaving out right now?
Was she silenced from within? Or, by a sense of restriction, religious or otherwise?