I lie about once every six minutes.
Most of it’s got to do with basic questions in life. Are you okay? Do you know what you’re doing? Are you confident that plant has been watered enough?
(I’m a prolific plant-killer. That’s why the office is almost exclusively populated by cacti.)
Occasionally, I have been embroiled in bigger falsehoods. Academia being a big one—seriously, how I have not revolted against it yet is a testament to the Stockholm Syndrome culture of the place. (It’s hell. Save yourselves while you can.)
Lying is so second nature to me that even years of therapy haven’t managed to break me of the habit. I am barely touching on that compulsion, and girl, I’ve been in and out of the counsellor’s office for the last 6 years.
I lie about how good I feel about my chosen life path. I lie about the progress of my thesis. I lie about my relationship.
Honestly, I don’t plan on it. Often the lie isn’t even a lie at all. It just starts with a misconception, and then I never bother correcting it. Or someone draws certain assumptions from their own personal life experiences and I let them think what they want. It’s better that way. Safer. I’m not comfortable being my true, authentic self around them, so I blend into the background and hope they won’t look too closely at my camouflage.
But by far, the white lies are my favorites. Isn’t there anything more noble, more socially acceptable, than sparing someone’s feelings? What good will it do to tell my friends how openly I despise them sometimes? How much their neediness makes me want to vomit, especially when my own vulnerability is often dismissed or shut down? It’s so much easier to let them pour their misery in my ear than to woman up and tell them that they need to own their shit.
Fact of it is, my authentic self is not fit for mass consumption. In fact, it’s not fit for any consumption. She’s ugly, pessimistic, rude, impatient, and more than a little prejudiced. She doesn’t watch her mouth. She doesn’t put other people’s feelings first. If she had her way, she’d climb to the top, not caring who or what she crushed on her way there.
She’s also extremely vulnerable, thin-skinned, and frightened. She’s an easy target for other bigots. She lies because she knows if she told the truth, nobody would stand up for her when it was her turn in the hot seat. She knows that living in the open is not a good look on her. Chances are, if she did, she would not last even five minutes.
Fuck authenticity. Better be a people-pleaser than dead.