Hey, internet, do you have a minute? There’s something I need to talk to you about.
I know we haven’t been seeing each other for very long, and I don’t want to get ahead of myself, but if we’re going to be together there’s something you need to know about me.
My name is Katie. And I am a liar.
I lie. All the time. Without thinking. Without remorse. Without so much as a guilty pang.
I lie to protect the feelings of the person I am with, to avoid an uncomfortable situation, to get myself out of an uncomfortable situation I’m already in, because I don’t have the energy to explain the truth, because I can’t be bothered to think of what the truth really is, and because most of the time, quite frankly, it’s fucking easier.
I lie to my doctor about how much I weigh. I lie to my friends and family about how I’m doing. I lie to my partners about how much fun I’ve had. I lie about where I’m going and what I’m doing (fuck, I lied to my mother about Catalyst). I eat food that I hate. I fake orgasms. And I lie about lying about all of it.
To say that I never feel remorse isn’t entirely true, but I feel more badly about the fact that I do it in a broad sense than about any one single lie. I don’t like this way of interacting, of connecting, because it means I never really truly feel connected to anyone. How can you ever feel intimate with someone when you’re so finely controlling the parts of you they get to see? You can’t. At least, not for more than a fleeting moment before it’s gone and you’re seeking the next artificial connection.
Total disclosure: I’m trying really hard to manage my anxiety while I write this. My Brene Brown shame gremlins are getting some major airplay right now. They’re telling me that I will be judged and deemed a shitty person. They’re telling me that my new friends won’t still want to be my friends. They’re telling me that my old friends will doubt every facet of our friendship and leave me. I’m telling them to shut the fuck up.
So… Why, do you ask? Some of my lying is convenience-based, but a lot more of it is fear-based. Convenience-based lying is exactly what it sounds like. It’s just easier. Someone I work with bugged me about taking a different way to work for weeks. She told me it was faster, less traffic, etc. I just didn’t feel like it. I didn’t need a new way to work. I live 2 fucking miles away, I walk there half the time. Finally, I told her that I tried her way, it was wonderful, I loved it, and thankyousomuch for showing it to me. It was easier. She got to feel good. I got her off my back. Whatever. Is that the end of the world? No, but it’s also not healthy as a first impulse.
Fear-based lying, at least in my life, is far more destructive. There are few things I hate more than hurting people. Not only do I hate it, I hate myself when I do it. I have a long and storied history of putting the feelings of others above my own. Mostly because I’d rather be the unhappy one out of both of us, but partially because I never really felt like I had it in me to be a happy person. I didn’t know what it would take, I didn’t know what it would look like, so hurting other people on the off-chance that I might end up happy seemed incredibly selfish. Sometimes it still does.
This has done a number on my relationships. I’m a serial miserable monogamist with a massive fidelity block and an intolerance for any kind of gap between one relationship and the next. And in my experience (in a scene that’s played out time and time again in my own life), your partner will generally not appreciate spending years of their life with you only to find out that you were (check all that apply) 1) unhappy the whole time but lacking the ovarian fortitude to say it, 2) repeatedly, repeatedly unfaithful, 3) never intending on being with them for the duration. So much for me sparing their feelings.
The common denominator in all of this is not having faith in the person in front of me that they can handle the truth. My truth. Whatever that is. I’m not sure what I’m always afraid of, but I can tell you that I’m always afraid.
It is easier for me to be honest with some people than others. As I crave relationships with more substance and mutual respect and understanding, I’m finding that this is the sort of behavior I need to break free from. Like everything, it’s a process, although right now I’ve got so many processes running at once my brain’s virtual memory is pretty much shot. What it comes down to for me is that it’s up to me to value my life, my experiences, and my happiness enough to fight for them, and it’s up to the people in my life to value me enough for that to be ok.