November 21st 2013
Story originally written and experienced: January 3rd 2011
“Have you told her yet?”
“I don’t know. I guess I just don’t think it makes much sense.”
“What do you mean?”
“Well. They’ve been broken up for a while and I don’t really think she needs to know.”
“…You don’t think she needs to know her ex-boyfriend was cheating on her for a majority of their relationship?”
“No. Probably not. They don’t talk anymore….maybe it’s a bad friend move. But. I’d feel kind of shitty kicking her down farther than she needs to be, especially if she’s far enough to leave this whole mess behind anyway.”
“But that would be lying, Olive.”
Lana looked at me >> << And I looked at her.
No one said anything.
And eventually I grabbed my green trench from the back of the chair. Stood uP and walked out the door.
And I remember the day I had this conversation.
And I remember where it was.
Who I was talking to.
And who I was talking about.
But most of all.
I remember lying
Times that day.
1. Once when my friend asked me if I thought his new girlfriend was attractive. And I told him yes. When I wasn’t so sure I did. But he did. And I knew his opinion mattered more than an irrelevant 3rd party.
2. Again when my mom called me and asked if I was overwhelmed with school, gymnastics, obligations and more. And I told her no when I really meant yes. But only because it wasn’t worth worrying her. And saying it out loud made me feel like I could handle it. And it made her feel that way too.
3. Another instance when someone asked me who Kylie was dating these days and I told them it was some guy named Caleb. Only because no one was supposed to know she was a lesbian. Definitely not them. And not even me.
4. And finally when my friend Lana asked me if I was going to tell our mutual friend about my recent discovery of her unfaithful ex-boyfriend. And I told her I would. But I never actually did.
And I remember walking out on >>>> Lana that day, green trench coat in hand, and feeling a little conflicted.
Incredibly conflicted, in fact.
But only because.
I consciously lied a number of times that day.
And rumor has it the moral and social reputation of lying is a close relative of foul play.
But I did it anyway.
And later that night I got to thinking. And I got to thinking a lot.
About an imaginary world completely constructed, rebuilt and mandated by truth. By everyone. All the time. Where the phrases
“You lied to me.”
“How could you?”
“Why didn’t you tell me”
“I can’t trust you.”
Absolutely didn’t exist.
A place where everyone was truthful. All the time. Every flaw. Every infidelity. Every opinion. Every mistake.
A place created because telling a white lie
s t r e t c h i n g the truth
Or completely avoiding responsibility for our actions were seemingly getting a
bit oUt Of hAnD
But then I wondered what that world would actually be like. To know
Someone had said. Or someone had done. A chaotic and emotional driven place where censors just didn’t exist.
Where the phrases
“What do you mean?”
“Why would you tell me that?”
“You really hurt my feelings”
“Was that really necessary?”
“You promised you wouldn’t tell…”
But only because this place made you wonder:
Why you would ever lie in the first place.
But I know why.
1. We do it because exaggerating a story makes it a little more interesting. A little more bold and a little more imaginative. Maybe you didn’t chug 5 beers and it was actually 2. Maybe you told your man friends you “gave it to her all night long” but in all reality it was 10 minutes post-gamed with an rerun episode of Seinfeld.
And maybe he didn’t say “Your smile
the heavens and all I really want to do is buy you diamonds and compliment your sparkly charisma all day.” But it was more like “Hey. Nice face.”
It was still fun.
And you get the point.
2. Denial. “I’m not hurt.” “I’m not sad.” “I didn’t fail” and “I wasn’t wrong.” The more we say it the more we believe it. The more we say it the more we believe it. The more we say it the more we believe it. The more we say it the more we believe it. We deny because it feels a whole lot better than not doing it. We deny because we feel guilty. We deny because rejection sounds scary. We deny because shameful admittance doesn’t shine quite as bright on the social resume. But most of all, we lie because we’re human.
3. Defense. “What good would it do?” “No I haven’t seen them.” “It’s not what it looks like.” (Even though it really kind of is) We lie because telling someone their hair cut is lame is just straight up douchey. We lie because we’re protecting a friend and maybe even ourselves. We do it because we don’t want people to worry. We don’t want them to get hurt. And sometimes we feel like oblivion might cushion the fall.
Now just to be clear.
I’m not an advocate for lying.
All I’m really saying is.
Lying doesn’t make us bad people.
It just makes us…people.
Tainted. Defensive. Normal. People.
And to realize that.
The type of people who do it to prevent hurt and to save face.
Aren’t always the same.
That taking responsibility for your deception
is a stand out quality in a stand out person.
It’s kind of an interesting thought isn’t it? That something labeled as so mean. And so deceptive and so mal-intentioned. Is often times excused by the complete opposite.
Like the time I had a conversation with a mother and she said she told her daughter that her absent father was a good guy. Only because telling her the truth about his reckless, loveless and alcoholic ways – would unnecessarily taint the kind dream dad she read about in her pink story books. And smudging reality felt better than the unnecessary truth.
Or the time Andrea looked him directly in the face and said “No. I did not cheat on you.” Even though she did. Because she didn’t want to lose him. Make him sad. Make things change. But eventually the guilt became so much that she did admit it. And she became better because of it. And he did too.
And guess I kind of love the idea of messing up, keeping things to ourselves and abiding by other people’s secrets.
That the best types of lies are the ones that:
Make us better. Make us learn.
Whether we’re putting ourselves in check. Or rechecking other people.
That lying isn’t a good thing but in a strange way defines the people in your life and who you are too.
Depending on what they use them for. Or if they use them at all.
And suddenly you find yourself sitting there feeling smart. And really good. Because you did it. You figured it out. That everyone lies. And you do too.
But how you lie. When you lie. Why you lie. And what you lie about. Separates the best from the bad and the bad from the best.
And I’ve always expected the very best out of you
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