When I was a little girl I used to tell lies. Little, stupid ones. I suppose they are called white lies, for whatever reason. I don’t remember why I did it, only that I was always eventually exposed and embarrassed. I simply was not very good at it. When I think about what it was I told stories about, it seems to have had much to do with trying to appear, if not more, than simply different, than I was.
Silly little girl, who was always plenty just as she was.
When I was older I got in the habit of one very specific kind of lie. I know exactly why I told these lies, but rest assured I was still no better at it and always got caught. And beyond embarrassed at this point, I would get hurt, and hurt others too. I know that was never the intention (but who cares when things go nuclear), but it happened, (ironically it was because I was so afraid of the discomfort of the honesty surrounding the demise of relationships.) I told precisely five lies (though I told each one on repeat until it was just too awkward for everyone, you can be sure) and was caught out every single time, and no feelings were ever spared.
Sad little lady, who never should have been afraid to just say how she felt.
Now, I just stay away from lies altogether. Clearly, I suck at it anyhow, but I can think of no example where it has ever had any sort of benefit – not to mention what I learned about karmic debt while I was in the ashram. I remember talking to T about her ex in NYC. He had been a compulsive liar, but about the most ridiculous things. Unfortunately, as one lies about so many silly, little things, it turns out that one has to start lying about pretty big things. And then, where are you? Confused at best, crushed more likely.
Not that long ago, The Cowboy was talking to me about a similar subject, how he couldn’t stand how people lied, but especially when they lied about stupid little shit, like what they had for lunch or something (cue irony.) I agreed and thought about my own history with that. I am so glad I can sleep better at night for not doing that sort of thing.
Lately, I have been thinking about this a lot more. Like, I have been thinking about all the different reasons that people tell lies, white or otherwise, and trying to wrap my head around the idea that maybe people lie to you for your own benefit. It sounds silly when I type it, but it could be totally true. Is it better to not know some things? Could people be lying to us for our own benefit?
Again, when I type it, it sounds completely ludicrous. In fact, when I reread it, it makes me furious… like, why should anyone else think they have the power to decide what information people should be privvy to and what should be hidden. Seems to me the road right to censorship and fascism and totalitarianism, and all that sort of thing. The soft pat on the head of the daft lady, “Oh, honey, don’t worry your pretty little head about that.”
Or does Nicholson have a point there?
On this bright Sunday morning of SF Pride I am certain I do not have the capacity to consider such a big question fully and fairly, but I know this: I suck at lying, and as with most things that I suck at, I simply continue to avoid it, lest things get really ugly.