From Brandon Taylor’s essay the tiny white people in our heads:

When I tell friends about my life, even stories that are funny to me, I always try to preface it by saying that I grew up in a Southern Gothic novel. I think most of us who grew up with trauma or working class or, more commonly, both, often have this experience of trying to hammer out the unruly shape of our lives to present to others. There’s this feeling I get sometimes of trying to make my history legible, neat. When I find myself selecting out certain stories or presenting them in certain ways that won’t make my audience too uncomfortable. It’s strange to say this, but for the most part, the shame and discomfort I feel about my past and the things that happened to me in my family and home aren’t because of what happened to me. Instead, the shame and discomfort come from the response I’m anticipating in others. That they’ll think I’m being too much. That my life is too messy, too painful for them to listen to. Once, when my mother was dying, a lab mate asked me how she was. I turned to the lab mate and said, “Oh, it’s not good. She’s really struggling with the chemo, and I think she probably only has a few months to live.” And the person said, “That’s awful. Don’t tell me anything else about it. That’s too much. Don’t tell me anything else. No. I do not want to hear it.”