“The pure and simple truth is rarely pure and never simple.” - Oscar WildeIsn't that the truth?
I wandered around a decent part of 2012 wondering about truth. How two people can live an event together and have vastly different truths to tell. How our truths are often colored in different hues by our own unique experiences, each one slightly tweaking the next.
What is my obligation to truth and telling it? Not in a general sense. In general I believe that you should strive to be truthful always. This usually requires tact, of which I have little, which leads to foot-in-mouth-often syndrome, made worse by my tendency to use too many words. I admitted to lying to protect someone over the past year, and probably...yeah...and most likely, the lie was formed to protect myself from admitting or explaining the deepness of my hurt. The experience left a bad taste in my mouth. It's not a space I felt comfortable in, which probably means if the world was reliant on my covert operative abilities, it'd be screwed. A lie is not something I do well and I have little desire to make it something I excel at.
I guess that, more specifically, I've wondered about my obligation to myself and in telling my truth with the understanding the is always another side. What are the limits and where does truth blur into gossip? There are some stories you cannot just tell part of, they make no sense without the whole of it. Without the whole, it's disjointed and convoluted. At what point is knowing that you know the truth enough? And what happens when people do not want to hear your truth because it's easier not to know?
“The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it.”- Flannery O'Connor
For a bit, I found myself unsure of my own truth. My words and fears used against me to create doubt. The voices of my pastor, of my therapist, of my spouse seemed distant. I was standing in the basement folding laundry while they were talking at me from the 3rd floor bathroom. Their words of encouragement and support...listen to your gut, it is right on...you are seeing it clearly...stand firmly in what you believe...were muted by the affront...you have too many issues...you are too broken...you make friendship too hard...you are not worth my energy. I wandered, revisiting. Sifting. Pained. My heart had been wrung tightly, left bleeding and exposed. The reluctant trust I had given up willingly, betrayed by promises of enduring bonds, of friendship, a feeling of familiarity. I'd become a blight on the ass of humanity. A person so far beyond the pale, that private meetings with my therapist needed to be had to discuss the depth of my fractures and how to fix me. The fractures inside of me, so hideous, they could no longer be stomached. I needed to change. I was wrong. Who I was, was wrong. I replayed and rewound and my eyes burned from briny tears. How? Why? I did what was asked of me and my reward was castigation. I could not understand. My empty palms slightly lifted, mouth agape, chest heaving, I stood in confusion. I felt alone, who could I lean on? Confide in? I was conflicted. Lost. How did we get here? How had our friendship come to this?
I had fault in it, I was no victim. I became too emotionally enmeshed in a situation that not only engaged triggers but took a hammer to them, beating them into bloody masses. There were outside influences, people, events that mucked with the waters from time to time but at the core of it I thought there was a steadfast friendship being forged. I was told that it was there, to trust it. Out of honor and respect to what I was told was being built I spoke my truth, as was requested of me. I laid out my concerns. I could not separate my past hurts from what I was seeing, what I was hearing; from the beginning I was honest about this fact. Save finding distance or a disconnect from emotion, there isn't much that I would have done differently. I may have reworded or approached differently but the message would be the same...even if I had known that it would have ended as it did.
For a time I wanted to fire back with canons, every one I could find. Big, small, fat, narrow, old, retooled, what ever. If it fired, I wanted it. If you want to burn this bridge, motherfucker, than let's do it. Let's pour kerosene on this bitch and bask in the warm glow of the burning timber,leaving nothing but ash to be carried away by the frigid wind. Quickly, in one of the most rational thought processes of my life (and there haven't been many), I realized that it wouldn't do anything for either of us, but more importantly...it would only hurt me more in the end. Nothing good would come of it. So my tongue bled, I spoke little about it. I attempted to veil what I did say and I, mostly, tried to stick to how painful the severance was and avoided what caused it. I focused on my lack of self worth, my fear of rejection.
I went a little crazy a few times. It had more to do with me than with them, this was just the catalyst that caused the manifestation of my crazy. My self doubts, the pot that had been stirred up in parting of ways, boiled over. I shut down, I lashed out, I self loathed, I curled into the fetal position and I cried. I found a way to make it all my fault and I whipped myself with it.
I spent my life keeping people a certain distance away, and then I met this person with whom I felt a twinge of recognition...the banter of home. It was strangely familiar, so I hastily let the wall down. My old brain fought it, it questioned and bucked the new path but eventually it trotted along. And the fall was a hard one. It took a while to get all of the dirt off my knees, I think there is still grass in my hair. I have tried to tread a careful line of not saying too much, though I'm sure that I have at times. There were moments when I wanted to lean forward on my toes and say it all, to see who would stand up for me as I believe I would stand up for them if their heart and worth had been laid to waste as mine had been. But in my heart, I did not want judgments cast or sides taken, none of us are without flaw. We all err. I didn't want them to hurt more and I was sure there would be more hurt to come from the situation. There was hurt on both sides...but for a moment I felt it. And I felt alone. In the end, it is no one's battle but mine and expectations only lead to disappointment.
I have stopped trying to deny that it hurt me, it did. It does. It's real and denying it doesn't make it less real, though it may make others more comfortable. I have stopped denying that I miss what once was and I talk about the good that was there. It is a reality of my life and is a part of me. I grew from it. I learned from it. I do not expect anyone to understand it, in fact, I'm sure to some it will seem odd. Their understanding is not a requirement for it to be valid.
I tried to come here to write about it and would feel anxious about my honesty and ended up deleting a large part of my writings. (uh...almost everything is gone now.) How much is too much to say? How will it be perceived and interpreted? What if it's "found"? At what point is it appropriate to tell my truth and when will telling it be hurtful to others? And so...I avoided this space.
I'd like to be more open, even when I look like an idiot, even when the response might be that I'm off base. I can't be the only one who feels some of these things, who thinks some of them. When the intent of telling the story has no malice but a desire for understanding, is it wrong to speak it?
I'm still left with questions about truth...
And "the truth"? It is peeking out without my words. I did not have to water it, it is finding its own way.
And now I'm going to watch an episode of The X-Files with my oldest boy...because the truth is out there.