I shan’t mince words. I’m a liar. And exactly 2 years ago, my lies created a life where I felt like someone was pressing the butt of a broom handle into my chest all my waking hours. I was in a relationship and living with a great girl. She was cute, generous, worldly, punctual, committed. But she was in a relationship with a liar (me) and we were fucked from the beginning.
The first lie was the most basic one: I thought that she was, or someday would be, someone other than who she was. I saw red-flags from our very first meeting. I rationalized them away to perpetuate the idea of the relationship—something I wanted to believe in. But rationalizations are not solid building materials for relationships.
The trouble, in short, was we had nothing in common. Our politics, spiritual views, tastes, communication styles were often diametrically opposed. I joked about these things at first, but as time elapsed and our incompatibility became more glaring, the humor evaporated. These issues would come out in fights and feeble attempts at communicating, but I knew, underneath my ideas and rationalizations, the relationship was DOA.
One night in February 2009, we got into a fight. It was the same fight. She accused me of not wanting to spend time with her. She was right.
I would typically cauterize the fight with lies that I wanted to believe were true, but knew were not. This night, I couldn’t do it. I knew this fight would go on as long as we were in a relationship. I knew things would not get better. I knew she was who she was and I was who I was and given that, we had to break up.
So I told the truth and was promptly asked to move out (it was her apartment so there was no question about who would leave). She went for a walk and I stuffed as many of my things in a large duffle as I could. It was a Tuesday night at midnight. I was a bum, but one with a modicum of integrity.
There’s an amazing lightness and power that happens when we quit hiding from reality. For a few months following the break up, I did not fear the future. Food tasted delicious. Music sounded rich. Everyone and everything looked gorgeous.
This is not to diminish the dumb-fuckery I perpetrated. I systematically lied for 2 years to a great girl—someone I loved and love, who didn’t deserve that (not that anyone does). And I don’t believe she felt as liberated by my confession. But I was clear that the most harmful thing I could do was continue lying.
2 years hence and I’m in a relationship with someone I have a lot in common with. Our politics, spiritual views, tastes, and (most importantly) communication styles are very much aligned. I like hanging out with her.
But I can still be a liar. I still suffer from the delusion that not looking at things as they are and dealing with things as they are, when they happen (this is a crucial element), somehow transforms a situation as if by magic. It doesn’t. Averted glances and delays create more problems and more lies to untangle. I pulled some stupid shit yesterday that exemplified that (sorry babe). And now I’ve got to reestablish trust.
I want to be free. I don’t want to hide from anything or anyone, whether it’s a girlfriend, a career or death. Freedom is hollow if it can’t be experienced in relationship.
I know the first step to that freedom: get real with what’s occurring here and now. For example, I’m a 34 year-old, vain man-child who lies and says hurtful things to people he loves, who isn’t covering his living expenses, has no heat or running water in his rundown apartment, often bathes in a sink, watches too many Netflix movies, eats too much white bread and tries to manifest his potential, but often is more concerned with being comfortable and/or self-satisfied. There it is folks. There are the innards of this wannabe prophet (I have some nice things to say about myself too, but for sake of tonal consistency, I’m leaving them out).
I’ll suspend my prescriptive portion today. I might take a day or 2 to regain trust in myself. But I will tell you dear reader, if there’s an issue you’re not looking at, if there’s something you’re squashing down, whether it concerns a relationship, your career, your health, your happiness, it’s not going to get better by ignoring it. I can’t be emphatic enough about this point. Whether we look at problem or not, it’s there and it’s probably poisoning our every waking moment. There is no good time to deal with it, so you might as well do it now. Life is very short.