My lie started as a little tiny baby lie but grew into something so tremendously ridiculous that it effected my life and permanently altered my friendships.
In a world where lying seems like a normal part of existence, I unfortunately had to learn the hard way that honesty trumps all.
My parents put me into school in a year too early. I had been deemed intellectually ready, but in many ways, I mentally was so not. When one of my classmates invited everyone in the class to her birthday except for me I was crushed. I asked her why and she said it was because she didn’t want to be friends with a little kid.
So as any seven year old would do, I went home crying and at the suggestion of my Dad, I started to lie about my age. We decided that in the minds of eight year olds, an extra year of life could go a long way.
If you ever listen to little kids playing on the playground, the very first question they ask each other is ‘how old are you?’ ‘Six and a quarter’ or some other super detailed number they answer, always making sure to include every single precious month. To kids, years of age are like facial tatoos among gang members, instant street cred.
So, I began to tell my peers I was one year older, and thanks to the short attention span of young kids, a year older I became.
Eventually my body grew to match my faux age, and my confidence grew with it. I found my people, wonderful, hilarious friends who accepted me for me, but I just couldn’t shake the lie.
Never did it seem to be the right time to say, ‘actually guys, I’ve been lying all along, I’m only 14 (or whatever age I had faux turned that year).’ The thought of coming clean made me feel like the biggest weirdo, (which I probably was) and to protect myself from shame and discomfort I kept on bs-ing.
It was just such a bizarre situation with no easy way out. I was no longer being bullied and had friends that surely wouldn’t care what age I was, but I was certain they would care that I had been insecure enough to lie in the first place.
One day I was finally over it. Every birthday brought with it a sense of dread and I finally told one of my friends the truth. She agreed everyone might think I was a freak and helped to keep my secret as another shameful birthday passed, but the feeling of complete honesty felt so good that I told another friend and another until eventually, I was outed to all of our peers.
Did I ultimately lose friends because of my lie? Not completely, but people looked at me differently.
When my two best friends heard about my age from a mutual friend, they confronted me, and as expected, made me feel super weird about it. Everything I said from that point on was met with a certain scepticism. They seemed to look at me like they didn’t even know who I was any more, and how could they not? Even though nothing but my age had really changed, in their eyes I had been a completely different person all along. A liar.
Breaking someone’s trust is easy but earning it back can be so difficult. That is why moving forward I have built my life on honesty.
It seems that lying has become such a normal part of life that it is almost to be expected but it doesn’t have to be that way. Honesty feels so much better for everyone involved.
We humans get so wrapped up in lying for our benefit that we fail to realise our lies also hurt others.
When I found out one of my favorite vegan bloggers was busted eating meat because of her own health problems I was admittedly horrified. I had been struggling with health issues for years but kept up a vegan diet because I had been told repeatedly by people I trusted that it worked for them and I was probably just doing it wrong.
While other vegan bloggers have received flack on the front end after coming clean about switching to a more paleo lifestyle, those are the people whose brands ultimately survive, because they chose honesty.
Buying kids ways into Ivy league schools, hurts the kids whose grades should have allowed them those spots but weren’t born into financial superiority.
Lying about cosmetic surgery hurts the little girls (or boys) who grow up hating themselves because they don’t look a certain way.
Lying about affairs hurts everyone involved and lying when you are in a position of power or influence is especially harmful.
People actually believed that Kylie got her new lips from sucking on a shot glass, and just look at the carnage that little doozie of lie caused.
Lets also not forget that lying hurts the liar. Unless you are a complete psychopath, carrying the guilt and burden of a lie is heavy and uncomfortable.
I know first hand how hard it is to come clean about a lie that’s already out there but choosing honesty over lies going forward makes life so much easier.
My experience has changed my entire outlook on honesty and I firmly believe lying should just be avoided in all cases, unless, it is to make someone feel better about themselves. So if your wife asks if her butt looks fat or your dad asks if his hair is thinning, go ahead and stretch the truth a bit.