I'm a Liar.
To be honest, I can’t remember when I started lying. I think it started around the time I was becoming attracted to boys in my early teens. Or at least that’s when I became more motivated to lie. I’d be embarrassed to let a guy walk me all the way home so I’d let them walk me part of the way saying I made it to where I needed to be and then I’d linger behind or near a house of my neighbors - until it was clear to go all the way home.
I lived in low-income housing at the end of the block - which was book-ended by nice homes and apartment buildings (I mean I thought anything was nicer than our housing situation). And looking back, it was obvious where I was going to to outsiders!
I lied because I was ashamed. I lied because I wanted to fit in. I lied because it seemed easier to as I felt it’d be too much for others to know my truth. But what it actually did was make it harder to tell the truth later. And that telling the truth was honestly only uncomfortable for me.
I lied when I moved to Europe in my twenties. It was easier to lie there because no one knew me and I could be whatever I wanted! It was amazing - I thought - to structure a life lived that didn’t happen. I mean I’d never be totally outrageous with my lies but it was hard for me to navigate a conversation about going to “Uni” (University). I’d say I was taking time off while in Europe when in reality I never thought about it until I started being asked about it. It’s really not something that someone poor thinks about for their children and I felt embarrassed that it wasn’t an option. So I lied and said I made a choice to not go.
While living there, in a house share, I’d see people get care packages from their families and I’d say that I’d already received mine or that it’s on it’s way. Most of the time, the reality was that I was sending gifts back home knowing very well that my family didn’t have the ability (financially and really, the self-worth to - another note for another day) to send me anything. I’d get a card every now and then and I’d be so happy to see Canadian postage on an envelope. But looking back, why did I feel compelled to say anything at all?
I kept lying when I made it to the states. It started to become a bit harder because my boyfriend’s family asked about them all of the time, in the beginning, but I was persistent in saying they didn’t want to come here. Meanwhile, they couldn’t afford it. AND they also never asked to come (because of low self-worth and just not understanding my needs). Which both were other pains altogether.
And to be fair to my family, I always tried to reframe to myself that the life I wanted shouldn’t add pressure on them. But my expectation of them never left me - which caused suffering.
It was only people who made it into my inner circle, wherever I lived, that knew my personal struggles. I needed some people to know because the burden was very heavy. My lying was never to hurt people but it did: it hurt me and, likely, my family. And that pain runs deep.
“The greatest sources of our suffering are the lies we tell ourselves.”
- Elvin Semrad (Quote taken from, The Body Keeps the Score.
And I think I still lie. It’s hard to say I need help when I actually do need it. So I lie. I say I’m fine. That I’ve got this. But in many instances in my past and now, I don’t GOT this. I think most people don’t GOT this under control, too.
I think many of us do more pretending and, in our way, lying. We lie to make others feel ok. We lie because we have shame. We lie because we don’t accept who we are. And what this does is suffocate us. And I believe that when we do this to ourselves, it leads to the dis-ease-s that show up in our bodies.
Because when I open up to people I trust, a weight lifts and I can feel healing actually happen in the moments during and after a heartfelt conversation. When we share our burdens with others, people want to help us hold that burden. To help it melt away. To let us know that we’ll still be loved no matter the obstacle.
In some weird way, I also believe that lying helped me to move on with my life. It wasn’t the healthiest way but it helped me compartmentalize deep pain. The truth was so hard to feel and hold by me who felt alone out here in the world floating, that I was debilitated by it. In some instances I had to purposely root myself in fantasyland about my past life, in order to live in the real world. I learned to create a new reality for myself by somehow manipulating my past.
My family life is still hard to deal with now and I’m still quite mixed about running away from my family to make “something of myself” elsewhere. It’s worked. So far. But now I’m face-to-face with owning my truth. And I’m not quite ready to take on everything I lied about over the years but I’m giving it a try.
Just as Caroline Myss says, “You can pretend to be something other than who you are but eventually you will run out of energy to continue because that’s not authentically you.”
I don’t want to lie anymore and I don’t have the energy to lie either.
I want to be myself and be unapologetic about.
Looking back it’s hard to say that I’d change anything about my lying because each instance brought me closer to the space that I needed to get to. A breaking point.
BUT if I could ease a little bit of my heartache from when I was younger, I’d say that loving yourself and being your authentic you will only attract those that will nourish you in your life. It will be a bounty of love like no other once you open your heart.
I’m watching some of that bounty flow in a little now and I’m also learning to trust and love myself so I feel no need to lie.