Monday, January 16, 2012

Honesty is Pandora's Box

I have a fast mind. It's a maze, and it's complex, but I figure things out relatively quickly. So from a very young age, I loved to lie as lying was just figuring out what people expected you to say, and saying it convincingly, most times before they even said anything. It wasn't getting away with things that made it such an unshakable bad habit, rather it was the thought that my words could change realities, my words could change perceptions, and it didn't have to be what was right or what was true. I was power tripping as a kid, and thus became known as a liar. 

Over time, my lies became manipulation. I would toy with my peer's lives and minds, the puppeteer feeling going to my head. I convinced a girl to break up with her boyfriend as they "weren't compatible". I convinced a guy that his best friend was "scheming behind his back". I even got a girl to completely drop my potential love interest, in hopes of getting with this guy I'd purposefully befriended for that very reason. By peppering the truth with a couple stretches, a few white lies, the world could be what I made it. And then I got played and lied to. Learned that lesson painfully. 

I learned that those traits were nothing to be proud of; liars are a dime a dozen and not all of them are any good. Girls who told the truth, girls who were honest despite any trepidation and fear, courageous girls, were valuable, or at least should be. I learned that being lied to hurt everything in a person. If they knew about it, it would change not only their perception of you, but of anyone following you. If they didn't know, it would jade the relationships and interactions of their future in ways you couldn't begin to grasp. And that made me stop being a liar, almost cold turkey.

The issue with that is, honesty is Pandora's box. People are constantly asking me to be honest with them. I'm a closed person who likes to think things through before I say them, mull over the ramifications and the benefits and then make a wise decision. The truth, just like biker shorts, ain't for everybody. 

My mother always said never ask for more than you can handle, and never ask questions you don't want the answers to. And she's been right on that just don't tell her I said it as people often ask for my brand of honesty and are shocked by what they hear. I'm muted in life...okay not muted but composed. I don't get riled up easily, and it takes a lot to shock me. I'm really observant and draw connections like there were dots between them leading the way. That right there is a recipe for disaster as some people's dots aren't really meant to be connected by outside forces but by themselves.

Me and W are yo-yoing continuously because of my formerly lackadaisical view of honesty as it pertains to my feelings. To make her feel more at ease, more secure with my friendship, I'd developed this veneer of not having deep feelings. Surface wise, it always seems like jealousy, bitterness or competition between us on my end, but under my still waters lies insecurity, uncertainty and a fear of not having anyone in my corner. Now that I'm evolving, that veneer is being painfully peeled back, exposing raw nerves to cold air.

 She's not really used to me telling her when she's hurt my feelings; she knew formerly as I would be really curt and sniping in my responses to her. Now I can recognize what's going on with me, and I'm not afraid of asking to take time out to figure it out. Now, I tell her sincerely what I feel with very little filter. She's kind of in a tough place in her life, trying to figure hers out just like I'm trying to figure mine, but she wants me to depend on her as I've always done not realizing that the actions she's taking now make it real difficult. I need something stable. I need something consistent. She can't give that right now. Telling her I don't feel safe , secure, or as trusting of her as I used to hurts her. It hurts me too. But it was something that needed to be said. 

And therein lies the rub with this honesty thing. It hurts both ways and nobody seems to recognize that. The person being honest feels, in most cases, sorely aware they are hurting someone they care about and exposing themselves to possible retribution, ridicule or rejection. The person receiving the honesty can misconstrue it as a critique, an insult and sometimes a purposeful aim to hurt them. 

Pandora didn't realize the ills she let into the world, and by the time she closed the lid, it was too late. You can't un-say things, or lie to cover up your honesty on some "JK" type thing. But...the great thing about that box is that it frees us of all those things we held inside, freeing us to be more ourselves and less our short-comings, hang-ups and pent up emotions. It frees us to live more sincerely, more nobly, and in a world full of liars, half-truthers, and people walking around with the baggage of being lied to, that is a hopeful thing. With every honest step we take forward, we're walking into a more hopeful and genuine future. 

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