I stayed at my brother’s the other night. It was absolutely hilarious – me and him taking the proverbial out of one another, and his fiance joining in too. It was a fun family night – the content of which we agreed not to disclose to our aging parents. I told him that I was dating, to which he replied ‘I know, you’re a crap liar’. This prompted a discussion about direct lies, lies of omission, and secrecy, but the idea of a lie being a lie because you didn’t tell someone the full truth has been rattling around in my brain since then. My poor meningococcal membrane is alive and irritated by this fly of a thought, which is akin to nailing jelly to the wall. Except nailing jelly is a pointless endeavour, and trying to decide definitively what constitutes a ‘lie’ is in actual fact a very good idea.
In my job I maintain a substantial amount of confidentiality. That’s fine. But does knowing something and not passing it on make it a lie? And how can full-blown no-holds-barred honesty be appreciated in a relationship when sometimes it can be better to tell a lie which draws a smile? As is evident, I’m a huge fan of honesty. If a guy lies to me, I cannot trust him and will not give him another chance. Were he to cheat on me, that’s a different issue….but my hard limit is honesty.
The question therefore becomes thus: What is your truth?
Secrets. Everybody has them. In our years of existence, we wouldn’t be human if we didn’t have something to hide. The question is, where should the line be drawn? Do we want everyone to know our business?
There is now a trend for posting every inane and boring detail about life on social media. Why is it our society finds it acceptable to tell the etherworld how much we hate our jobs, the idiots in the morning queue at Starbucks, and our families? Surely committing something to Facebook timeline is much more damning and evidentiary than bad words and thoughts whispered aloud? At least there is plausible deniability in a verbal confession. Yet there is something infinitely more intimate, something more soul-baring, in talking. It is a much more trusting act to confide your deepest darkest secrets to another. Perhaps this is why we say what we really feel online, and keep the public face up in the ‘real’ world.
When beginning something new with a new person, be it a romantic or social something, how far can we go in terms of confession? What in our past defines us? How can we use our experiences as barometers of personal growth and emotional maturity? Every experience, when recounted to another person, has connotations stemming from their own history and prejudices, conjuring up opinions, stereotypes and judgement.
How much do I wish I could shout the truth from the rooftops? Especially if we are wronged, if something bad is inflicted upon us, why do we carry the shame and the guilt of keeping that secret? I can confess to not believing in matrimony, monogamy or the longevity of sexual attraction, yet I am ashamed to admit I have been badly hurt by male scum in the past? Even that in and of itself is an emotive term – ‘men’ is too honourable a term by which to refer, yet to say scum is to imply there is still emotional resentment and pain. Is it possible we could ever believe someone has moved on from their ex and the pain they caused, or is it more of a reflection of self – if I cannot be over my ex, surely no-one else has managed that either? Or is it more of a fear of being castigated as flawed, damaged goods, unlovable? I truly believe I am over the BS of the past – months of celibacy, plus focusing on other matters has brought me to a higher level of clarity and consciousness. The only downside is that it now takes more than physical attraction to get me into bed, which subsequently means Roger and I are spending more time together than I would like. My celibacy no longer stretches to abstaining from all sexual thoughts and actions; in short, I needed to come. Anyway, I now require a little more than pheromones. I also want to be able to be honest and open. I don’t believe in burdening people with every little detail of life, a la the ‘why don’t you like me’ artist in Friends, but if someone asks me on a date about my life before I met them, I don’t want to have to pretend. Dating, as much as it would be great if it could be handled like a job interview, is not about an employee or a position. It’s about a connection, a spark, and I would like to be able to be open without worrying that I’ll lose the vacancy I’ve applied for.
My romantic CV is certainly not as glowing as my professional one. My first love, possibly the love of my life, was a soldier. We were together from 16-19 and I believed he was the one. I ended it, a decision which I don’t regret as we were too young to be as in love as we were. I wanted to get out, explore the world, have a lot of sex with a lot of strangers. Experience university to what I considered to be the fullest. The next guy I was with for over 18 months, yet when I think back on my love life, I tend not to think of him. He was vanilla and probably a rebound; definitely not the best idea. But we parted on good terms and he is doing well. I wish him every happiness. The guy I used to consider to be the love of my life, well, now I feel indifferent to him. Our entire relationship was a mistake; our break-up – catalysed by my steamy fling with a Sicilian (which he still doesn’t know about) – was the second worst thing I went through.
The thing is…. The others in between, and in some cases during, were the ones who I believe truly made an impact. There were the handful I had mind-blowing sex with; the aggressive depressive; the one who should have blown my mind but didn’t quite do it for me; the overgrown man-child still in love with his mother; the idiot who failed to tell me he was engaged. Oh yes – another lovely thing about me – I will not be anyone’s mistress or rebound girl. I have never set out to have those things, they have been retrospectively realised as such, whereas the guys who have treated me as such had planned it.
My truth is that I have been hurt in the past. But I am proud of what I have achieved, my strength and power. Had I not experienced what I have, I wouldn’t be who I am. But how do I say so without sounding bitter or defensive?