The truth is a funny thing. From a young age we are bombarded with the message that truth is tantamount and lying is BAD. ‘Tell Mommy the truth, did you break your brother’s model airplane?’ ‘Did you brush your teeth?’etc. [I stuck a pin in my sisters’ bouncy ball. I never told a soul for years. In my defense I was simply curious how long it would take to deflate – that sucker took a long long time.] In fact, this message comes at us so much that we become little disciples of veracity regurgitation, which can lead to the embarrassing moment when you’re young child tells the woman at the shop that she’s fat. Can you blame them? They're just following directions like good little girls and boys.
What they don’t tell us when we’re young is that apparently there are many versions of the truth that can be danced around, interpreted and downright evaded, depending on the situation. What I always found confusing was the childhood message of truth interspersed with all the mistruths, or little white lies as many call them. Santa Clause, the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny, eating my lima beans is good for me (it SO wasn’t; gagging is not something I associate with goodness).
In fact, there are a lot of yarns we are fed as kids that are downright lies. Like Fido has gone to dog camp, and not into a big hole in the backyard six feet under. I know I know, you don’t want to tell a child too much, or burst the bubble that the universe is a lot less warm and fuzzy than they think. So fine, tell them some big fat white man – a stranger mind you - will break into their home and leave them gifts if they’ve behaved accordingly. I get it, sort of. But what seems somewhat tortuous, is that when some kids do find out Santa Claus is a mere invention of adults to keep kids in line (my interpretation anyway), they are downright devastated. I thankfully was never one of those kids. I had older sisters who kept it very real in our household. I suppose this is when you first learn that adults have a funny relationship with the truth.
When you get to adulthood, you soon realize that the truth is a malleable thing. It can be shaped, molded, or downright bastardized to serve a purpose or agenda – or my favorite, to protect people from hurt and embarrassment (hey, if my ass is fat, I kind of want to know about it so I can do something pronto)! Obviously, every situation is different and there are plenty of times when kit gloves are needed so as not to send someone to the top of a tall building with a fifth of vodka. Cause some people simply – in the words of the mighty Nicholson – can’t handle the truth!! They have successfully surrounded themselves with their own idea or version of the truth for their entire lives. “I’m not fat, I’m curvy.” “I’m not an asshole, I’m a man of opinions.” “I’m not cheating; we never said we were fully committed.” Yeah, okay, whatever you need to tell yourself to get by.
Then of course there is the white lie – the harmless (so we think) go-to when we just don’t have the energy to be totally honest. This of course has its own pitfalls, i.e when you get caught, and have to defend why white lies aren’t lies (They are. We’re just always looking for another way to interpret things). Try going a whole week without telling one white lie. I dare you. You’ll see how used it we’ve become. No more, I’m about to jump in the bath when that person you SO don’t want to speak to calls; no more I did go by the store, they were all sold out; no more, I love your new haircut, it really suits you. Or, I have to pass on tonight, I’m feeling kind of run down….no you’re not, you’re lying. You feel fine and you’re about to bust open a pint of ice cream and watch Idol. You just don’t have the nerve to say you don’t feel like going cause they bore the shit out of you….okay, so none of the above are egregious life changers, but you get the idea.
The question is, if we’re trying so hard to shy away from the real truth where does that leave us? I suppose, living in a world of shades of gray and sugar coated language that never really gets to the core of things. (Politics is a perfect example of this) I suppose in our personal lives, that is where delivery comes in. And there is an art to it trust me. The goal: to try and deliver the ‘truth’ in the most polite and gentle way possible so as not stray from the point of delivering the truth. I know confusing. But if you want someone to hear the truth, you have to get them to hear it, not kick off in some huge fight cause you chose your words wrong. Men can sometimes suck at this as they're not always the kings of subtlety. Then again, there are some people who can handle the tough love approach (note to men, find out your woman's cycle and then plan accordingly). I suppose it is knowing who you’re dealing with before you dish it out and waiting for the opportune time – and then of course duck and run!
On the other hand, there is something so refreshing and admirable about those in the life that just serve it up, no editing, no fluffy bunnies, just what it is as they see it. I can be this person sometimes when I’m with a very close friend – whom I’m assured won’t impale me with something sharp. I’m not saying it doesn’t feel like a punch in the stomach, but there is something refreshing – not to mention helpful – of having a best friend or family member that can give you a dose of reality in such a way so that you can swallow it and not choke. Cause most times, the sobering truth is exactly what you need to hear.
Come on, bring it, I can take it!