Saturday, November 14, 2009

The Power of a Good Lie

No I would not sleep in this bed of lies
So toss me out and turn in
And there’ll be no rest for these tired eyes
I’m marking it down to learning

I am

There are little white lies, which aren't supposed to hurt anyone. There are big lies, designed to keep someone (whether the liar or the lie-ee) safe from the truth. There are lies that we tell ourselves, and those are the ones that hurt the most.

And then there are the lies with the lowest self-esteem; the lies that no one believes. Sometimes they are called manners, politeness, or decency. Sometimes they are important, sometimes not. Other times these lies are called politics- whether flown out of the mouth a servant of the state or not- and usually are made to protect oneself. And then there is the king of the lies which no one believes; the lie that is easier than the truth.

The ladder is the most common kind of lie. People use it every day. How is your day? Good, and yours? These are the lies we have to use, and accept, every day, whether to keep our private lives private, to stay out of others, or to prevent the overwhelming storm of emotion that the truth would release. The lies we tell our friends when at work (the alternative being a whispered I'll tell you later) and relatives or casual acquaintances met unexpectedly. Lies to stay on the surface, lies to hide the personal truth of your world.

I am personally against most lies. I don't mind giving someone a shock once in a while, and I certainly don't mind letting my friends in on my emotions. But there are some situations when the most common lie cannot be avoided. Whether situational, or because there is just nothing left to say about the truth, the lie comes out. I have used one in particular quite commonly in the recent past. It's the lie, "I'm ok."

There have seldom been times in my life when this was less true.

However, I still said it. I couldn't help it. At some point, you can't just keep telling people how much you're hurting. Even the best of friends will grow tired of it or will start to seriously worry. You need to break the monotony. Say you're ok.

I have proceeded as such for the past two months, minus a few particularly bad times. And then this week I ran into a friend I hadn't seen in a while. We proceeded with small talk and catching up, when he asked the dreaded question, "How are you doing?" to which I answered, "I'm doing ok." I paused and then went on about things I had been doing at work, what I've been doing in my free time, and some exciting plans for this spring. We laughed and talked some more and I left with a smile on my face. And then I realized... that maybe I had not lied at all.

A good lie is hard to come by.

Mostly because a good lie is one that is not a lie at all.

image from
lyrics from Matchbox Twenty, Bed of Lies

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