I cannot remember a time when I did not lie. I didn’t lie about important stuff too often, but I lied a lot about myself. Wait a minute — that is important stuff, isn’t it? Actually, I’ve lied at one point or another about almost anything. Here is a list of people to whom I have lied:
- My parents
- My sisters, (including my older sister, who is my best friend)
- My brother
- My aunts and uncles and cousins
- Even my dear Grampy and Grammy, whom I loved and still love to distraction
- My bosses
- My co-workers
- My customers
- My clients
- My friends, (oh, so many times!)
- My lovers
- My husbands
- My girlfriend
- My fellow church-goers
- My congregation
- My bartenders
- My fellow and lady inebriates
- My friends’ kids
- Complete strangers
This is only a partial list. I would need pages to list everyone to whom I have lied, in my life. I told my mom this over breakfast out, today. She was surprised. “Why did you lie?” There’s that why again. I tried, for a few minutes, to explain, but then a one-sentence answer came to me.
I lied because I had no reason to believe that anyone wanted to hear me tell the truth about myself.
This is either simple, or very complex. I’m going today for simple. Whenever I have told anyone about my history, my successes, my failures, the activities of my daily life, the very least I did was embellish — a lot. If some interesting thing happened in my life, I made it bigger. More important. More interesting. More attention-worthy — hmmm. The only thing I haven’t lied about at all in the last decade is my health, and that was because I was so emotionally and physically bad off that no one would have believed anything else I told them. Everything else was fair game.
I am not proud of this behavior. In fact, one of the things that drove me most crazy about my third husband was that he was a compulsive liar. I said those words a hundred times, and never once did the thought come to my mind that I am a compulsive liar. Well, a recovering compulsive liar. All of the people close to me, whom I hold most dear, are on my list. I don’t know how any of them would feel when they read this post.
The worst thing about being a liar is that I couldn’t then be honest with anyone, because I was supporting this cloud of lies I’d told. I have, in the past, made the mistake of telling different lies to different people, and having them compare notes. Busted. I was dying to tell the truth about something, but my armor of lies was so thick, I couldn’t break through.
I have no way now of convincing anyone that I am telling the truth, except to say that I am. I can’t control if anyone ever trusts me again. But I decided, last year, that I am done lying. If you ask me a question, prepare to receive the truth as I see it. I will continue to be kind, and gentle, whenever I can, but no more creating this shadow-Judith to take my place in the world. Here I am. Ask me anything.