I am fortunate this semester to have a young deep diving truth speaking woman in my small group. She has been a spark to my dried up writing tinder and my internal exploration. Weird how complaisant I have become on both those fronts where I used to be a rebellious ass kicker.
So I have been pondering that truth telling thing, what has passed for truth, how it gets twisted and distorted to please me and make me look better. Deep breath.....
As a child I was a liar. Not itty bitty lies. Nope these were huge whoppers. My need was almost pathological and I would often lie without a reason or benefit. I would lie easily to anyone's face. I would lie despite being confronted with overwhelming truth. I would not waver. More than once, I made someone drop the truth and believe my lie. I was a great liar. I spent some time sitting with that, squirming in discomfort with that. So much of my childhood is made of lies that it's hard to know what is true and what is lies.
I lied because it was expected. What happened in the family stayed in the family - we were very Mafia like that. I lied to protect myself, my parents, even my abusers. I lied even if I knew the abuse would get worse for not telling. But I can't blame it all on fucked up family casting. I'm pretty sure that tendency was there just as it is in most kids where we look at it like a benign form of storytelling. And I wonder if the abuse arrested me in that stage a little.
It was safer to lie about everything. No one can get close enough to hurt you if they don't really know you. And when they go (and they always do) you can console yourself with the knowledge that they never really knew you. Lying allowed me to stay in the background or come forward as I chose. I never chose. Lying was second nature by the time I was an adult. I became very adept at it.
I think we are all very adept at it. We exaggerate or hide things to puff ourselves up, to make someone love us, to get recognition. My version of it was just a bit more extreme.
The pathological lying became harder after I started to speak my story. I can still remember the paralyzing fear of telling anyone the first time, telling a lover the first time, telling a family member the first time. I was surprised by people's responses. Responses that made me more able to tell the truth, to reveal who I am, what has happened to me.
It's interesting to look back over the past 15 years and see the arc of that growth. The friends I have now know the true me, not just the bits I let them see. And I am now a sucky liar. When I try to tell a whopper that would have slid easy from my lips 20 years ago, I turn red, my heart races, my breath quickens. I am a worse liar now then ever before in my life. And I'm OK with that. I hope it continues until there is only truth.