New Castle News

July 16, 2012

Lisa Madras: Can you handle the truth? Today, I finally come clean

Lisa Madras
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — What do I lie about?

I've always prided myself on my ability to balance honesty with decorum. I despise people who brutally hurt others' feelings and hide behind their proclamations of being "honest."

Forgive the soapbox, but I have to get this out of the way: That's not nice, and no matter how much you try to convince yourself otherwise, nobody thinks you're a great person when you insult/dash the hopes of/belittle somebody. There's a neat little thing called "tact" that makes a little white lie sort of a good thing.

Anyhow, that's not really the type of lies I wanted to talk about today. I'm thinking about the ways we lie to ourselves, which bleeds over into how we live our lives, and how we present ourselves to others. In this case, tact is more of a cop-out, and until we're brutally honest with ourselves, our lies become who we really are.

I didn't realize what a horribly dishonest person I was until I started asking myself questions. All of a sudden, that objective observer part of my persona started picking out inconsistencies that I'd cleverly been presenting as truths masked with "good reasons."

The only thing I hate more than an honest bully is a bold-faced liar. I honestly wish I'd quit coming up with more reasons to hate myself, but such is the closely examined life. And so my only recourse is to come clean to myself, and to you, and do my best to right my wrongs.

Confession time.

Lie 1: One cookie won't hurt. How often do we tell ourselves that just one cookie/drink/cigarette won't hurt? It does. The only way to kick any bad habit is to say goodbye to it. Accept that this relationship is over, mourn your loss, and move on. (This applies to people, too.)

Lie 2: It's on sale/I can't pass it up at this price! If you didn't need or want it at full price, you don't need or want it at a discounted price. I have a home and garage that look like an episode of "Hoarders" to prove how destructive this particular lie can be.

Lie 3: He/she will change. The only person in this world that you can guarantee to change is yourself, and that's because you can control you.  Chances are, if he or she was going to change, they would have done it already. Chances are even greater that they're never going to change for YOUR benefit.

Lie 4: I don't know how. Three weeks ago, my son had never even held a deck of cards. Today, he's performing magic tricks at the level of a professional street magician. I remind him of this when he claims he doesn't know how to change a bicycle tire or frost a cupcake. You can Google the knowledge you need for ANYTHING.

Lie 5: I don't have time. This is perhaps my juiciest and most palpable lie. I'm a good one for using the excuse that I'm a single mother with a full time job and no family, so I'm essentially doing the job of the whole village. The truth is, I still find time to watch TV, read, and sit around the fire with friends. If it's important enough to you, you find the time, and this goes for exercise and extra home improvement projects, Lisa! (Sorry, talking to myself again.)

Lie 6, a tie-in with Lie 1 and Lie 5: I can skip the gym today. Just as bad habits must be broken, good habits must be formed. Find the time.

Lie 7: I have no control over this. Sure, there are lots of things we don't have control over, but we can control how we react to those things, which is almost as important. And we also need to take a good, hard look at some of the things we think we can't control, because sometimes we actually can.

Lie 8: These jeans make my butt look big. I know for 100 percent certainty that is always, always, always a lie. Either A) Your butt makes your butt look big and you can't blame your clothing for you being a size 18; or B) Your butt doesn't even look big and you need to stop imagining that you look like a size 18 when you're actually a size 2. Either way, the truth will set you free from your denim-clad prison of deception.

Lie 9: My children will do as I say, not as I do. Kid yourself all you want about raising your children with an iron fist. They only have to listen to you until they're 18, and then, chances are they'll end up just like dear old mom or dad. Choose the actions and lifestyle you want them to eventually emulate, because they will.

Lie 10: I'll do it tomorrow. I'm not talking about little things like taking out the trash or organizing your file cabinet. We all get done what we need to eventually. But if you keep putting off dreams and ambitions, like writing that novel or backpacking through Europe, you might want to take a closer look at why you're stonewalling yourself. Maybe you don't really want to do it after all. If you're not committed to a dream, you're condemning yourself to a life of lies.