On Radical Honesty

Today, I’ve been lying to people.

I’m constantly spinning a web of lies in my daily life.

Often small lies with little consequences, or so I like to think.

“I’ll do it tomorrow.” “Yeah, it’s a great idea.” “He’s a nice guy.”

And sometimes, big lies.

The sort of lies which may break the trust I have spent my whole life building.

Why do I do this to myself?

It seems insane. Much like the man who, unaware of the laws of gravity, saws off the branch on which he sits, I corner myself towards the end of a cliff. Soon enough, there isn’t any way left but to jump into the void and pray, wondering how things ended up that way.

So, why do I do this to myself?

Because I’m scared.

I’m scared not to be the person I pretend to be. I’m scared not to be the person people make me out to be. I’m scared to disappoint. But it’s easy to avoid this uncomfortable feeling. I just have not to tell them. It’s not lying, I’m just keeping things quiet.

It’s the same, though.

Hiding the truth is no better. It eventually becomes unbearable. So much so, that I can’t fight the need to come clean anymore. To hell with the consequences.

That liberating feeling when I tell them.

“Actually, it was me.” “Sorry for doing that.” “I have no excuses.”

It hurts. It really does.

More than the guilt which pierces my conscience, the eyes that dig through mine with their disdain, their anger, their disappointment, makes me shudder. Please, don’t look at me that way. I feel the burning shame already. Have pity on me.

I’ve learned my lesson. I’m a new man now. I won’t repeat the same mistake. And yet, that’s what I’ve been doing all my life. Repeating the same mistake over and over again. On the surface, I’m doing great. Take a peek inside, and it’s all smoke and mirrors. I’m trying, though. Sometimes, I say what I really think. It’s tough. People don’t like when you react in an unexpected way. When you don’t follow the social norms. That’s how bullying works. Or racism, or any kind of discrimination, really. I feel like I’m playing a role. I’m playing me. But not the me that I am. The me that people see. That’s their version of me.

What if I broke that shell? What if I let myself shatter that cocoon I’ve sheltered in all this time? I can’t do it in one strike. Nobody could. Even then, it’s worth trying. I’ll start small. Just, once in a while, when I feel that I’m trying to wear this fictional disguise, I’ll muster my courage and say it.

“Thanks, but I don’t like it.” “I don’t really care, honestly.” “I don’t want to do it.”

How awful it feels. Nevertheless, I’m somewhat glad. I said it. I’ve been carrying that burden for so long. It’s as if Sisyphus was suddenly freed from his eternal torture. It feels right. No more meaningless chatter, no more obsequiousness. Just the truth. The truth I’ve been longing for. The crude, raw truth which hurts. But also the comforting, reliable truth which I can trust at any time.

My only beacon in this shady ball of a world where everyone dances to the tune of the powerful, a mask plastered on their faces to protect their ego.

Of course, I’m one of them too. I eventually return to this apathetic state, where, carried away by the waves of my daily life, I lose sight of that light, veiled by the mist of society. I drift along the currents, trying my best not to drown despite that dance suit I’m stuck into. I drift until the moment when, by a miraculous combination of chance and lucidity, I catch a glimpse of my radiant guide. As if I woke up of from a dream, I am free from this turmoil again. The objective is the same: reach the harbour. But I realize, as long as I remain clear-headed, that it’s fine not to keep my suit in such a rough sea. I let go of it: it’ll find its way back to me soon enough. As I float on the surface effortlessly, bathing in the bliss of liberty, I crawl my way through towards the light. I still need to brace myself for when my disguise will find me again.

It will never let me go. I probably won’t ever reach that harbour.

But I’m confident now.

I will always keep trying.