Keep Your Lies To Yourself

We’ve all been told from grade school that lying is wrong and we shouldn’t do it, but as we grow older lying becomes so common.  From the simple, “That haircut is adorable!” to the more complex and devastating “I love you,” lies are a part of being an adult.

Or are they?  Are we not reverting back to our adolescence before we knew the difference between right and wrong or do we just accept that making up stories is a part of life?

I believe everyone deserves the courtesy of the truth and I strive to be honest.  Unfortunately, I am not always the most tactful person.  I have blurted out my honest opinion when avoiding the question would have been the nicer option.  Sometimes, I just can’t help it.

The truth can hit you like a slap in the face, but the sting of a lie lingers long after the initial shock is gone.  When the realization that you have been lied to sets it, everything changes.  You question everything.  Analyze each moment.  Doubt the truth.  Hell, you doubt yourself.

A friend of mine recently posted something on Facebook that got me thinking. It said, “You know the only thing that’s worse than being lied to is knowing you weren’t good enough for the truth.”

Why would an intelligent and creative person believe that they were the one who was not good enough?

The fact of the matter is, people are good enough for the truth; liars are not good enough people to be honest.  Sure, they hide behind the veil of “I just didn’t want to hurt you” because they know that the truth is not something you want to hear.  And the closer the person is to you, the more the lie hurts.

I had the unfortunate experience of discovering someone had lied to me.  It was humiliating.  I feltfeel like a complete idiot.  Especially because I should have fucking known better.

I had been spending a lot of time with this guy.  Things were great.  We had some fun weekends of hanging out and just being ourselves.  It helped that we had known each other for years so there was none of that awkward getting-to-know-you period.  He introduced me to his hobbies, I introduced him to my friends.  We just were and it was nice.

I wasn’t entirely sure what was going.  When he started kissing me and acting like he wanted something more from our friendship, I allowed my feelings to develop and slowly took the wall down though the boundaries remained.  Thank goodness for intuition!

I thought something was potentially developing though I knew that I was breaking a few of my own personal dating rules, but for the first time in a long while, I threw caution to the wind and decided to just see where things went.

Things went nowhere.

Weeks into our whatever-you-call-it, I received a text message announcing that I was his best friend, but that he was just not ready for a relationship.

Oh, hell no!  No “friend” of mine is going to handle things like that through a text message.  For the first time in my life, I demanded to know what the hell happened.  And I wanted an explanation in person.

Over a lunch I could barely stomach, he told me a variety of things: “I’m not ready for a relationship,” “I don’t want to ruin our friendship,” and “I don’t want to have to choose between my hobbies and a relationship” (not that I was asking him to).

I called bullshit.

I told him that these were all excuses, that he had used me, and that all I needed was a “I’m just not that into you.”  Jeez, is that so hard?!  I’m totally fine with someone telling me that they are not interested in me romantically.  It’s clear and it’s something I can accept.  Shelling out an “I just want to be friends for now” implies hope that something could develop later.  He insisted that he was just not ready for a relationship with anyone, that I shouldn’t look at it as him using me, and that he gave me reasons, not excuses, as to why he didn’t want to pursue a relationship with me.

I accepted that he was not ready to be in a relationship.  Ok, I guess we would try this “friend” thing again.  Things would be a little strange—I do not stay friends with people I was romantically involved with—but I would try to make it work.  We had kept things private between us, so I guess his rejection would be private too.  After all, no reason to further prove that he wasn’t ready for a relationship and that I had been completely embarrassed to think he was capable of one.

A month later, he was in a relationship.

To say that I was upset is an understatement.  Though I am completely glad that he rejected me because I know a relationship with him would not have been successful at all, I am still pissed that he didn’t have the balls to just tell me that he was interested in someone else.  If I was his best friend, didn’t I deserve the truth?

After you have been lied to, you have a hard time looking at a person the same way.  I feel duped, like I never really knew the kind of person that he was/is.  Even now, I have a hard time looking at him.  When I receive a text message, I have no desire to respond.  When he comments on Facebook, I roll my eyes.  I have grown apathetic to someone I once considered a friend and no longer feel like I can trust him.

The aftermath of a lie lasts longer the pain of the truth.  Everything changes and nothing will ever be the same.  No amount of “I’m sorry” will ever make things right.  Trust is broken.  Friendships are tested.

Give people the courtesy of the truth.  Be honest.

Compassion and Curry

Kindness is something that so many of us take for granted.  If we don’t see a big gesture, we often forget to notice an act of kindness.  It’s all about the little things.

Sure, there are reality programs like Extreme Makeover: Home Edition and You Deserve It which, let’s be honest, will make even the most stone-cold heart melt.  This is precisely why I don’t watch these shows.  I turn into a sniffling, sobbing, blubbering mess.  Every.  Single.  Time.

Now, these are the utmost examples.  Others are more subtle.

There is a turning point in the film Groundhog Day, where Phil decides that as he relives February 2nd over and over, he can make changes to better the lives of the Punxsutawney townsfolk.  He tries to save the life of an elderly homeless man by treating him to a warm meal and performing CPR, changes the tire of a carload of little old ladies, and performs the Heimlich on the mayor who chokes on his meal.

And then those damn ASPCA and Humane Society commercials come on showing images of abused and neglected animals.  My heart breaks every time I see the look of pain in these animals’ eyes.  How could anyone be so cruel to a defenseless animal?  And how could anyone not want to help every last one of them?

I guess I should get to a personal anecdote of my own.

During my very first semester in college, I found out that my long-distance boyfriend—at least, I thought he was my boyfriend—had slept with someone else.  Now, I was 18 and he was 26.  It was my first big love (I lost the V-card) and I was completely and utterly devastated.  For days after I found out, I existed in a zombie-like stupor.  I couldn’t get out of bed.  I couldn’t eat.  I didn’t want to talk to anyone.  And yet, I still had assignments I had to complete.  After struggling through an essay for my history class, I emerged from my stuffy dorm room, unwashed and unbrushed, to run down campus so that I could get my paper turned in on time.

After I had made it to the history department just shy of the deadline, I ran into Janice, a floormate who was also taking the same class.  Though we didn’t know each other well at that point, she could see that I was a mess and immediately demanded to know what was wrong.  She was so supportive and offered to take me to Indian food to talk about things some more.  I tried to decline—I was in my pajama pants at 4 o’clock in the afternoon—and told her that I really hadn’t been hungry since I found out.  When she found out I hadn’t consumed food in three days, she insisted and dragged my pajama-covered-butt over to the restaurant.

That day, while stuffing our faces with chicken tikka masala and naan (my first foray into Indian cuisine), we bonded over a love of older guys, larger hips, and adjusting to our first year of college.  It was then that I started to feel better.  Don’t get me wrong, I was still heartbroken, but during that meal I was able to forget my misery and get to know a really great gal.

Though we are no longer friends, I will cherish the day that Janice forced me to talk about how I was feeling and introduced me to one of my favorite types of food.  To outsiders, it may have just looked like two girlfriends sharing spicy food, but to me, it was when my heartache started to lessen.  Thank you, Janice.  You will never know how much that meant to me.

You see?  Kindness can mean everything to someone.  It can mean the difference between a bad day and a great day.

It doesn’t take a new house or a ton of money or gifts to warm someone’s heart.  Sometimes it’s just the act of being there to listen to a story or offer a hug.  Sometimes it’s a smile or holding a door open for someone with their hands full.  Sometimes it’s just a forced meal of chicken tikka masala and chai tea.

Worked for me.