To you, October may be Breast Cancer Awareness Month or National Poetry Month, but to me, it’s Stop Lying Month. I have already detailed the lies I tell to my children (here and here) and the ones I tell my husband (here).
And there’s one more acre of fertile soil where I produce a bumper crop of lies.
I’m talking about the lies I tell myself. Those are the lies that matter the most because they are quiet, invisible, and no one can bust me on those.
Anyone recognize these?
- I’m just going to look. This is what I say as I cross the threshold of any commercial enterprise, including Ann Taylor, 7-11, Anthropologie, or the airport gift shop. You know how many times in my 39 years I have only looked (and not purchased)? Maybe 5, and 4 of those were because I forgot my wallet.
- I don’t care what you think. OH BULLSHIT. I care. I care so much it hurts my epidermis. It’s true I wish I didn’t care what you think, but I do care.
- I don’t need help. The truth is that I wish I didn’t need help, but I do. This lie applies to all areas of my life: I need help letting go of what you think of my blog, figuring out iPhone Apps, finding the Saran Wrap in Target, and taking care of my children.
- I don’t want dessert. Not true, interlocutor, not true. More often, I am scared of dessert. I am scared of the calories and the deliciousness and the questions that follow me after I eat it: Will it make me fat? Will I be able to stop eating it if I start? So much noise. It’s not that I don’t want the dessert; I don’t want the noise.
- I write for myself. I wish this was true; sometimes it is true. If it was, then I wouldn’t have such shitty days when no one comments on my blog or when the Huffington Post fails to respond to my awesome pitch(es). If I just wrote for myself and all the pleasure it brought me, I wouldn’t have a blog.
- I should have [insert some action I didn’t take]. Oh for the love of pita bread, I wish this lie would die. Coulda, shoulda, woulda. I should have gone to the University of Texas because the English program is better. I should have found a smaller law firm sooner so I could work part-time. I should have left that relationship sooner because he was never going to marry me. These are lies because I did what I needed to do in each instance and each of those paths led me here to my life today. As Maya Angelou said, “Wouldn’t take nothing for my journey now.”
- I’m not going to check my phone for an hour. Again, patent bullshit. You would not believe the lies I tell myself all damn day about social media. I’m at the park, and I vow not to check my email or my texts because I am going to be present. I promise I will step away for a whole hour. I never make it. Once I made it a full 20 minutes, but I was sweating and craving chocolate enchiladas before 10 minutes elapsed. I want more freedom from technology, but lying to myself isn’t doing the trick.
- I’m going to clean that tomorrow. The closet. The kids’ drawers. The junk drawers in the kitchen. You name it, I told myself I would clean it tomorrow. It’s laughable. I swear, though, every time I say it, I mean it, but time proves that I am a liar over and over.
- I have plenty of time. This lie gets me into trouble, because I say this to myself when I have 15 minutes until my babysitter leaves, but I am still planning to run to Target, the dry cleaners, the bank, the library, and the post office. I never have enough time, but every time I look at my watch, I tell myself I have plenty of time. It’s always a lie.
- Tomorrow I will take it easy. At nightfall, I find myself wiped out, bone tired, and rather bitchy, so I vow to myself that I won’t run around so much tomorrow. I sincerely intend to take a nap or just sit and relax or learn to say no. Sometimes I slow down, but only when I have the stomach flu, which prevents me from moving beyond my bedroom.