Friday, November 4, 2011

Important Confessions

    I have been writing this post over and over in my head for the past several hours, and it has been so difficult to find the right words. After a lot of self-convincing and a little nervous pacing I’ve decided that this is something I need to share with you. It is personal, and it is really embarrassing. I’m still fighting back a sick-to-my-stomach feeling as I write this. Still I’m going to keep writing, because opening up about this may be the key in fixing this problem of mine for good.

I am a recovering compulsive liar.

   I don’t know when exactly it started, but it definitely started early. I was a (rather adorable, if I do say so myself) little girl who loved to tell stories. I used my imagination, I made things up, I exaggerated. Most kids do this, of course, and as expected people loved it, praised me for my creativity…and somewhere along the way I figured out that fantasy was better than reality.

As a pre-teen, I was very insecure. I wanted to have friends, I wanted to fit in, I wanted to be cool. When I was asked questions about my life, I would make up stories. I thought this made me seem cooler. I told people I’d done things I hadn't done, seen things I hadn’t seen, gone places I hadn’t gone. Sometimes it worked – people laughed and gasped at my stories, and I was good at telling them. For the most part, however, I was still awkward, still an outsider, and fantasy was still always better than the real world.

Fast forward to High School. I was still awkward and still wildly insecure. I was beginning to figure out who I was, but the idea of fantasy over reality still didn’t leave me. Lies, some big and some small, would find their way into conversations I had with people, most frequently people I would just meet in an effort to impress them. I didn’t see it then, but looking back I know exactly why I did it: Somewhere along the way I came up with the idea that no one would like who I was if I was just myself.

The real me wasn’t good enough.
and so, I lied.
I told so many lies I can’t even begin to remember them all.
And for that moment when the person I was talking to believed what I said, I felt better. I felt prettier, or stronger, or smarter. Better.

Another year or two went by. I found friends I could be completely myself around, friends I could tell anything to. I figured out what I loved, found my passion. I also found God. At sixteen years old I had a moment I still remember perfectly, possibly the most important few seconds in my entire life: I realized that God really does love me. Me, specifically. He knows my name, he knows my problems, and he loves me anyway.  And thus, I knew that my take on reality had to change. I can not begin to tell you how hard it was. I know that sounds ridiculous and many of you are probably like “Girl, you crazy. Just stop lying,” But here’s the thing: by this time I had formed a very bad, bad, bad habit. I literally had no control over it. Things that couldn’t be farther from the truth would just slip from between my lips before I’d even thought about it. Often times I would feel ill after something like that happened, cursing and hating myself for my dishonesty, but I was too embarrassed to admit what I did to the person I wronged. I am so, so, so sorry.

This had become a big, evil problem that I knew I had to beat. I talked to church leaders, I kept a journal, I prayed and prayed and prayed and prayed some more. Thankfully, things were able to improve and time went by. I became more comfortable with who I was – I give 100% of the credit for that to my church. The testimonies of beautiful friends, inspiring teachers and church leaders uplifted me so very much – and the closer I became to God, the less often I was tempted or compelled to tell lies.

   Things are looking up, but my struggle is far from over: Occasionally, it still happens. It happened this week, actually. Every once in a while a silly, completely unnecessary lie slips from my mouth before I can think about it. My husband has caught me in this once or twice, and when he asked me why I did it I couldn’t give him a real answer. All I could say is I don’t know. I don’t know why I do this.

And I don’t.
But I am doing everything I can to bury this problem for good.
    My biggest fear about posting this today is that it will cause friends and family to distrust me. I don’t want that. I love my wonderful friends and family so much and couldn’t bear to lose any of them. If distrust is your first impulse please know how sorry I am, and how hard I am working every day to change this part of my life.
   In contrast, my greatest hope about posting this today is that, by announcing this to the world I will find the bravery to admit these mistakes when they happen. I am hoping I can find support and maybe some encouragement. Maybe I can conquer this for good if the consequence of failing is not just letting me down, but letting all of you down.

Thank you for reading. Thank you for being there. Thank you for existing.
I love you.

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