1. I’m really good at a lot of things. One of which, near the top of the list, is remaining humble. However, in all seriousness, I’m really good at a long list of things. Maybe this is due to the fact that I was raised by humans who showed me the most affection when I was accomplishing something, maybe I’m actually a closet competitive and I just need to be the best at everything, or maybe the presence of so much Virgo in major placements of my astrological chart has just made me an unbearable perfectionist so I cannot settle for less than being, well, really good at a great many things. All of these run-on sentences to say, I’m really, really good at a lot of random shit.
But something I am, admittedly, spectacular at? It’s lying.
This also means, as someone who is a fantastic liar, I am equally, if not even better at spotting when someone is lying.
Just like in poker, everyone has a tell. Some people go way too in with the details (pro tip: this actually gives away that you’re lying, less is more), some people are incapable of keeping a story straight (which is why the fewer details the better, following?), some get overly defensive when you ask them a simple question (probably because they’re worried about said details). In like, 99% of cases, if you really look for it, you’ll be able to find the giveaway that someone is lying to you.
There’s something interesting, however, that I’ve come to conclude as someone who is a top tier liar. There’s frankly? No point in it. Rather than stress yourself out and work out some sort of mess you inevitably have to lie in, it’s better to either say the truth or say nothing. Yes—I recognize where there may some circumstances where a tiny lie is told to offshoot something that the truth would potentially hurt, but that’s when personally? I would just say nothing. Lying, to me, is pointless.
And that’s why I find it so perplexing when I encounter people who are addicted to lying. Who are incapable of telling the truth. Who seemingly live their lives telling one lie after another and another and then another. And the most fascinating aspect to all of this? It’s the fact that the person they are clearly most often lying to is themselves.
Self-deception is not uncommon. Between the spotlight effect, the fact that we tend to view ourselves with a positive bias, to a certain extent we’re all guilty of stretching reality in our own heads. But what I’ve come to notice about people who are chronic and/or pathological liars, is it really does seem like no matter how far-fetched their lie is, they are so wrapped up in it they really believe at least a good portion of it is true. The mental gymnastics is honestly impressive. They’ll backflip and bend and twist to maintain that even the most insignificant detail of their lie is somehow even minutely true. Maybe it’s because liars also tend to be allergic to accountability, but the intricate webs they weave to convince themselves they’re being authentic are insane. It has to be exhausting, constantly upholding a world of lies you built around yourself. But I’m sure when you’ve made a world where what you say is what you feel you have to believe, even when deep down you know it’s completely fabricated, the fact that you’d have to admit it never existed in the first place is terrifying enough to make you convinced you must keep going.
I have been good at a lot of things in life that I’ve ultimately retired from. Musical theatre, drugs, the fashion industry, dating men. But my retirement from lying was probably the ~*healthiest*~ thing I ever did for myself. Because when I look at someone who can’t let go of their need to spin the truth, who is incapable of saying what they mean with their full chest, who is so petrified of discomfort they’d rather add another brick to their wall of falsities? I honestly, for lack of a better word, just feel bad for them.
Because as exhausting as continuously building that wall of lies must be, imagine how much it’s going to crush them when it inevitably all falls down.
2. One of the things, on top of the many, many aforementioned others, that I am exceptional at is compartmentalization. My ability to triage and set aside what is unnecessary, especially in a crisis, is next level. I am the crisis friend. I am the person you want around when there is a problem. Because I will 1) fix it and 2) completely set aside anything else until number one is accomplished.
I am an expert at filing things away for a later date. Of saying, “Hmmm yeah that really sucks but I have bigger problems that need dealing with so I’ll come back to you later.” And then putting whatever said “you” is into a box and not letting it affect me until I feel like I have the appropriate time and space to be affected.
However, the problem with compartmentalizing, as I have recently discovered, is it sometimes leads to what I’m affectionately (sarcasm) referring to as Very Delayed Grief™. When you’ve put something into a box to revisit at a later date, and then you eventually put a lid on that box because the later date is still inconvenient, eventually it’s going to fall off of the shelf you hid it away on and essentially concus you with the feelings you were working so hard to avoid. And then you’re stuck sitting there wading through emotions you probably should’ve dealt with 365-and-some-odd days prior and judging yourself for procrastinating by way of compartmentalizing.
I’ve been sitting in some of this VDG™ mess recently. Looking at the things I’ve maybe not fully processed despite a year and some change passing. Examining the memories I’ve sworn no longer matter and acknowledging that yes, maybe they do hurt. And here’s the thing I have to admit (especially as someone who 300 words ago just told you I do not lie): As good as I am at compartmentalizing, I’m not very good at grief. I’m not very good at confessing when something hurts, when something still stings, when I miss something (or someone), or, especially, when I don’t have a solution.
And maybe that’s what I actually need to admit. Yes—I’m stunningly capable at compartmentalizing. But that is because I am equally as tragic when it comes to dealing with hard things that appear to have no discernible solution.
Will have to revisit that at a later date.
3. I have a problem. And I’ve been told that the first step is admitting you have one. The problem is, I have an…let’s go with insane memory.
I can remember what both my ex and I were wearing the first time we kissed. I remember the first time I said the word “bitch” out loud. I remember the first piece of furniture I purchased with my own money. I remember what my first audition song was in college for a show. I remember what perfume the first girl I had a crush on in high school wore. I remember everything.
And because of this, I am a nightmare to argue with. I can recount details that, frankly, shouldn’t matter. Someone once told me, “Not all of us have a steel trap, some of us just have a strainer.” And the other thing that I’m a nightmare about is I, frankly, don’t care. Me and my memory expect you to keep up. If I remember something as fact, you should too. If I remind you of something that happened, you better be right there ready to remember the play by play with me. If I tell you it was raining, let’s pull up the almanac so you can say my favorite words: “You’re right.”
Which leads me to the final (among many) reasons I am a nightmare. I will bring up proof when questioned.
I screenshot. I keyword search. I keep receipts. I put my phone in people’s faces and say, “Look! See what you said?” I remember August of 2018 and say, “This is what you were wearing.” I am a fact-checker. And I think it’s a problem.
And I think it’s a problem because I don’t know how to let other people be wrong. I don’t how to be okay with it. I don’t know how to be content with continuing a discussion without making sure everything is correct. I think I’m obsessed with justice, or order, or making things make sense. I have last word syndrome, I am annoying, I am always right.
But I am those things…for what? What’s the point? Who is walking away from the situation better with me making sure that every i was dotted and t was crossed? Is it me? Is this something I’m doing solely for myself? Is being obsessed with correct-ness just for me?
Probably. It’s probably like wallowing within self-deception. The only person getting anything from it, is me.
Something else we’ll revisit at a later date.
4. I’ve decided my new mantra for life is: “Use your words or leave me alone.” It’s my “I hate small talk.” Because the reality is, I don’t hate small talk because no one LOVES small talk. But small talk is the bridge to deeper talk, to substantial talk. Without small talk, there isn’t a further in the conversation. So I do not hate small talk.
But what I do hate is pointless talk. The type of talk that is either saying nothing at all or is hoping you’ll read between the lines and pick up on the subtleties and do the work of the conversation for them. I hate the kind of talk where it feels like the only party is “reaching out” because of some sort of pity or charity, not because of actual interest. Or the kind of talk where you just want to respond with, “Do you need something?” but general politeness and, idk, societal pressure to remain cordial to someone who is objectively not doing anything “wrong” per se stops you.
use your words or leave me alone.
— kendra syrdal👻 (@kendrasyrdal) November 21, 2020
So if someone is coming towards me with something? It better have intention. It better have substance. It better say what it means and mean what it says. Use your words or leave me alone. Because otherwise? I’m not interested. I’m no longer interested in expending emotional energy towards making other people feel comfortable and content and safe for doing less than the bare minimum. No more back pats and gold stars for pointless talk.
Either actually say something, or say nothing. I promise, sometimes nothing is truly preferred.
5. Last night I ran 3.33 miles under a lunar eclipse. I destroyed my lungs pushing it at the end. I coughed behind my mask while cooling down and I’m pretty sure the cross-fitters I passed thought I had Covid. I don’t, to my knowledge, but I’m still not going home for Christmas even though I’m scared it will be the last chance I have to talk shit about my family during the holidays with my dad. I know that’s an unrealistic and macabre fear, but it’s a fear I have nonetheless.
Last night I ran 3.33 miles under a lunar eclipse. I went home and downed 24 ounces of water. I didn’t shower, because I’m gross. I pulled tarot. It didn’t make sense. Or maybe it did make sense but I’m obsessed with being right about everything and I couldn’t explain it so to me, that means it didn’t make sense.
Last night I ran 3.33 miles under a lunar eclipse. I played Lorde on repeat. I wanted to cry, but I didn’t. But I got my period in the morning unexpectedly so that’s probably to blame, not Lorde. I blasted the music on every final leg of each lap in case I unintentionally ran by someone I pretend to no longer think about. If “Supercut” is playing too loudly, I can’t be blamed for not acknowledging your existence right?
Last night I ran 3.33 miles under a lunar eclipse. My phone still doesn’t accurately track steps or miles, but luckily I’ve done the math without it. I ran in a sweatshirt, I’ve never done that before. My feet cramped horribly, that always happens. I probably have a bad gait but whatever. Nobody’s good at everything.