When Should We Resist Being Too Honest?

Life is filled with grey areas and complicated emotions. People will lie to you, and that's the truth.

   I sit at a table, the sun long set, the friend across from me, upside-down bottle in hand, watching the last fated drops fall to his very empty glass. As I drink the last of mine, the all too familiar clinking of a semi-melted ice cube rattling along with an empty glass rings at the end of the conversation. I look at the bottle and think to myself that I have drunk enough, and it’s best to be wise and get a cab home. Lies. I’ll have just one more. A thought I will laugh about come sunrise.

   We tell ourselves so many lies, like how we couldn’t eat another bite, just before dessert hits the table. The deceptions we throw around like the fake smiles shared in an elevator, pretending we care a lot about our fellow riders after they have left our eye line. Endless windy self-indulgences about eating better, spending less, or bettering ourselves. 

   From the very first time a person felt the joys of sin, we were then forced to carry the weight of our actions, and with the creation of shame, it became far less fun. That is until we got good at lying to ourselves. The sickness in our guts, sleepless nights, the unchecked passion of carnal instincts can be maddening. We have come to find it so much easier to wrap the pain in pretty words, to simply justify the hurt. 

   In my stack of books, stories heard, and late nights shared with a friend, my opinion has taken shape that beyond all things, what we seek most is truth. Not any truth, a hilariously processed truth. Honest to goodness no holds barred truth is too heavy. At the same time, half-truths and white lies lack the fat needed to sink our teeth in and tell ourselves we like them. We need what I call Masquerade gospel.

   We want to be told honest things, with just enough deception blocking truths ugly side. The right amount of detail removed to make a cold truth seem magical. Those common or not revelations, with the caveat of skipping enough illicit details to make it bearable. Winning the best prize at a carnival booth is a pure joy to remember, so long as you leave out telling anyone you spent forty-seven dollars on tickets for the three dollar toy. We want our truths to wear a little mask, to hide just enough of itself that we are happy to see them as they present themselves. 

   A favorite, horrible, example of this, is a cold toilet seat in a public stall and the ignorance it grants us. When you sit down to a toasty warm seat you are forced to realize the truth about the common grounds you share with the thrones' previous patron. That is the kind of truth that brings agony and revolt to our day. We need that peace of mind that comes from denying ourselves logic whenever we can.

   Are we stupid for lying to each other, and ourselves? Is it so wrong to lie when it just shields us from what we know, and would rather not dwell on? Santa himself exists in the hearts of children and the words of storytellers. He is a concept so genuine and pure until one is forced to learn the capitalism of Christmas, or how Santas jolly visage we know was crafted by Coca-Cola. What's important to take note of, is that to an extent, that's just fine. 

   It's okay that holidays have commercial aspects, some might agree it's a small price to pay for the memories we will cherish for years to come. It's great that we can hide from the dark and scary monsters of grown-up life, by telling each other ghost stories while we gather around a campfire. Alongside the truth, we have happy deceptions, another aspect of Masquerade gospel.

   I will lie to you, that's the truth. Some live with chronic pain, hidden from the world to avoid passing the burden. Praising under-baked cookies, to further encourage a young hearts growing passion. We have to lie because the truth can be painful, in such a damning way that hearing it could cut worse than finding out there was a lie at all. 

   We will go so far as to tell complete lies, good health in the face of death, assuring heartache will fade or failures will be forgotten. These lies can be so powerful they become the truths that support us. The push and love from supporting friends and family will often empower a broken soul to steel itself once more, rise, and take on the challenges once more, renewed and inspired. Self-constructed ignorance for sure, but a necessary evil in my eyes.

   Isn't that foolish? Why keep hope when we know we'll be forced to swallow yet another spoon of false promises? Some lie telling you everything is going to be ok. In reality, we have no reason to think that. There are special lies, they are the harshest denial of bad things, they are the ability to reject how little control we have over our lives, and instead set forth to find that which we want. If you ask me, that's a perfectly fair lie to tell. 

   The hardest part is figuring out which lies are beneficial, and which truths will cause harm. This is a concept that ensures will spent countless nights staring at the ceiling fan when I can’t fall asleep, until the very last breath I take. Without being able to tear these concepts apart, it's hard to say if I would be ready to accept the not so pretty lies. I will be happier in a world where I am ready to hear the supportive and heartfelt words that come my way, no matter how baseless they are. 

   In a world ever-changing in its challenges and complications, the only advice I can give is that you lie often, for good reason, and reject the dangerous truths. I look forward to someone I love, looking me in the eyes, and with no doubt in their mind, telling me how great everything is. I am ready to tell someone I love, I’ll be strong when they’re gone, knowing at that moment I couldn’t believe it less. I look forward to the lies that make the truth less scary.  

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