Monday, January 8, 2007

"I'm being transparent with you guys."

"Partial honesty" is an oxymoron.

It's the reason we swear an oath in court, "to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth." We have so many so-called definitions of the truth, and so many justifications for why the things we say are technically true. "Why weren't you there?" "I didn't feel well." Of course, what you didn't say is that the sniffles wouldn't have kept you from going if there hadn't been other reasons too. "Are you leaving?" "Yeah. I'm going to get some stuff done at home." Oh, that's clever. You didn't actually say that was the reason you were going home, you just knew they would assume it (or at least not challenge it); no matter what the real reason is or why you don't want to discuss it, it's still a lie. "How are you?" "I'm good." ....compared to ______, or in spite of ________. Lie.

Highlights from the dictionary definition of "honest" include: not deceptive, characterized by truth, without affectation, devoid of any hypocrisy or pretense. I cannot honestly claim that any of those things describe the whole of my speech or actions. I flatter myself that I rarely tell lies, while conveniently not addressing the fact that I deceive quite often. I practice deception and claim self defense. Are they large deceptions? Flat-out untruths? No. _____ is a difficult subject, so I leave that out. I don't want to talk about _____ with/in front of this person, so I let them assume something else. I can't dodge a certain question, but I know I can deflect the questioner with a confident-but-vague-to-the-point-of-saying-nothing-at-all answer. I talk about something sensitive, while being careful to make it sound like it's less of a big deal to me than it is. All lies, and the truth is that I do it to protect myself because I don't trust God to do it for me. It's hard to be completely honest (a redundancy), even with the people I want to be completely honest with, and I don't want to do anything that's hard. Honesty has the potential to put me in a situation I can't control, a situation where I am at the mercy of others, and I don't like that very much.

A couple of people have told me that going to Italy for three weeks completely alone was a brave thing to do. The truth is, I simply considered the possible consequences and decided I was willing to accept them. It's easy to make the sacrifices you are willing to make. What's hard is doing what the friend I quoted in the title did when he confessed something that made him vulnerable, and then pointed it out.

I have been working on it, I'm just not there yet.



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