Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The Fine Art of Deception

Love Never Lies - Blue Rodeo

When is it okay to lie? Is it ever okay to lie?

I dislike liars. My personal motto is "Fun Not Phony". Habitual liars are phonies - they are not real to themselves or others. In many cases, I feel like someone lying to me is an insult to my intelligence. How stupid do you think I am that I am going to believe that? In the case of such a blatant and egregious lie, I often allow the person to carry on in their fantasy world. They are hardly worth my time if they chose to be so disrespectful to me. "I'd love to have coffee with you but I work every afternoon and evening." A simple "Thanks but no thanks" would have achieved the same results - I'll never ask again. It's okay if someone doesn't want to spend time with us even if they once did. But we shouldn't have to waste our time on false hope.

If I value you, I should be able to be honest with you. And that includes if I value you as a friend, lover, family member, or a part of the human race in the world I live. But the world is anything but black and white and neither is the concept of the truth. Much like an eyewitness account, the level of acceptable truthfullness varies amongst us all.
The truth as I see it can be quite different from the truth as you see it. But how is this possible? Simply put, our morals and values can vary and our life experiences allow us to view and interpret events in different ways. You may see a lie as a means to spare my feelings, where I view that same un-truth as a painful sleight and assault on my character. For everything that comes out of our mouths, there is reasoning behind it. The manner in which it is said, the words that are chosen all reflect the intent behind the statement. Some of us can read these cues, others chose to hear only words. 

What is the real purpose behind the lie? Is it so we can raise our own self-worth at the expense of others? Is it just a malicious event with the only goal to harm someone else? It is all of those things and more, sometimes it is even self-protection. "I'm sorry I was speeding officer, I am late for a dentist appointment". Says he, "Here's your ticket ma'am, no-one rushes to go to the dentist." Maybe, I should have lied and said diarrhea :) lol Bottom line, is that most lies are told for purely selfish reasons. 

Then there is the little white lie. Some don't see this as a lie but a common courtesy. A harmless tale, perhaps even beneficial. But sometimes in our hope to do good we hurt. In theory a little white lie should only be told when not knowing the truth is completely harmless. But who is to be the judge of that. "I'm on my way", we've all heard that one at one time or another - probably even said it. I worry, about the person I am waiting for or the person waiting for me. Worry is not something I consider harmless.

I think that there are ways to be truthful without hurting a persons feelings. Say a co-worker asks about an outfit/tie they are wearing. They want your opinion, they are talking the time to hear you. Do you lie and say "looks great" even if you think they look like a circus clown? Or do you find something positive to say amid the psychedelic ensemble. "The bright colours really bring out the colour of your eyes." Or "That shirt would really be great at the club on Friday." If someone tells me that something looks good on me, I will put it at the front of my selection of things to wear when I want to feel confident. If I have been lied to, I am playing the fool. I couldn't do that to someone else. I don't want it done to me. It's okay if not everything I chose is the best look for me. Sometimes, I wear stuff despite because its' comfortable or has some other meaning. 

The understanding of the appropriateness of the art of deception doesn't get any clearer when you consider the politically correct version of a lie - the omission of the truth. Not an outright lie but not the truth either. Again intent is paramount in acceptable nature of this retort. Sometimes people get in your face and insist on answer to things that are simply none of their business. They may want to use the truth against you. If I have a romantic liaison, it is none of your business and so it's okay to say I went to bed early last night. Oh okay, that becomes a half truth :) 
The half truth is my go to! 
"Did you?" "Yes...but." Just because we chose to live a morally honest life does not mean that anyone has the right to every detail of our life simply because they have the nerve (or gall) to ask the question. Discretion is required in the question and response. Not an easy task and I suppose one of the reasons why celebrities and other personalities are coached before a live Q & A. And why so many of us are guilty of the "I opened my mouth and the truth came out" syndrome.

I've been called to task on my truthfullness. Too many times people have started a conversation reminding me that I don't like lying. I want to run and hide because I feel I am about to be put under the interrogation light as a bible is thrust into my hand. Self-protection is the cape of choice as I sweat and wait for the ball to drop. You might as well hook up the lie detector - because if I feel threatened the truth might slink and hide in a corner. The half truth works well for me in these instances. Not exactly a lie. Not exactly the whole truth. 

The truth lies in utterer of the words. I would consider myself to be a bad liar but in reality I am a discretionary truth teller. Only what you need to hear when I want to share is all you'll get. That's a bit of social etiquette. Not everybody who you see on the street and says "Hi, How are you?" really wants to know how you are. 

The importance of truthfullness is directly related to the importance of the person in our lives. Omissions of the truth, half truths, white lies have very little place in a healthy loving faithful relationship with mates, spouses, children, parents. Living a life with a partner and realizing that that once happy life is a lie would have to be the end of the game for me. I don't think I could look at myself in the mirror knowing I am living a lie.

I've always said that "Knowledge is Power". If I know the truth I can confront it and change or fix it (perhaps), if nothing else, I can deal with it. But maybe the most effective use of this mindset is in regards to parenting. Rest assured it sure made my life as a single mom a lot easier knowing I knew exactly what I was dealing with. Although that doesn't in anyway mean that I knew everything about my children's lives and experiences. There are certain rights of passage for young adults that are no ones business but their own. But I can honestly share my experiences and knowledge gained in the hopes I can guide them and promote responsible decision making when I am not there. But, if you skip class because you didn't study for the test, tell me before I get the phone call. We can study together and organize ourselves to make sure you take time to be prepared next time. If you get sent to the principal, I would like your version before I am called upon to support you - for as a parent, discipline is my job. Nobody likes to be caught unawares, embarrassed and with egg on their face. Situations will always arise but with an atmosphere of trust and mutual respect we can stand united and strong.

Do me a favour, if I have spinach in my teeth the next time you see me - tell me. And I'll let you know if you come out of the public restroom with toilet paper stuck to your shoe. With honesty on our side...we can be lifelong friends! 

And thank you to that one student who embarrassed me in front of a hallway packed full of teenagers to let me know my skirt was tucked into my nylons exposing too much for the security cameras :)


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

A Semi-colon Means It's Not Over!

Arizona (I Miss You Most)- Brian Byrne

Brian Byrne is a vocalist for the group I Mother Earth. Upon hearing of the untimely death of another friend to suicide, he decided to use the power of the music to create awareness and change. He penned the single I Miss You Most and created the Arizona project. Available on iTunes, all the money raised from sales will go to Collateral Damage which is a Canadian suicide prevention and awareness group. 

Personally I am all for awareness. Talking about those subjects that most of us are uncomfortable doing takes some of the stigma away. If one person gains confidence to reach out and ask for help - we are one step closer to ultimate success. I am a bit of a paradox, I will talk to anyone about anything and if I feel un-judged I will even share private experiences (where relevant ;) But I know me, and in all my numerous years on this planet I have never had the strength to reach out in the times of greatest need. I have paid a price for this flaw, but fortunately not the ultimate price. 

Knowing there is someone out there that cares is a big part of it. 

Knowing that you are not alone. Not in your thoughts. Not in your world. 

Knowing that although it is stormy, the sun shall shine again.  

Knowing that there is always hope and things will get better. When you hit the bottom - the only way to go is up!

If you know someone and you are concerned let them know you are there for them and remember not every cry for help is vocalized. 

Emotional pain can't be fixed by popping a pill. Emotional pain will still be there after we try to make it go away by physical action. We only add physical pain to the burden we carry. The logical and rational parts of our brain usually understand this but overwhelming emotional pain breaks us. Emotions trample all over the logic and we go for what we think is an easy fix. 

Talking to someone, anyone - even yourself will help you see logic through the tears. For me it's often a one-sided dialogue with music. All-inclusive and not discriminating in any way, the music and the words speak to me. In the beat I can find peace, the rhythm like a heartbeat that doesn't stop. The repeating chorus reminds me that the light and goodness of life will shine again - if I give it time. As the singer and song survived so too can I. 

The Semi-colon Project is an awareness project that I heard about for the first time today on the radio. I was intrigued and had to look it up and find out more. I was literally gob-smacked. I just kept repeating to myself OMG! OMG! It was like they knew me, had crawled into my head and stole my thoughts. Verification that the internet/Big Brother was spying on me and trolling me online. :)

Today, April 16th is the day of recognition for the Semi-colon Project. If you are someone who self-harms, are suicidal, depressed, suffering from anxiety, have a broken heart, lost someone you loved - you are encouraged to draw a semi-colon on your wrist in a show of solidarity. When people see it they will hopefully understand and you may find comfort in seeing the semi-colon on another. 

Why a semi-colon? In the sentence that is your life a semi-colon means it's not over. As they so eloquently put it "Semi-colons represent a sentence that the author has chosen not to end. You're the author, the sentence is your life." A question mark at the end finishes it on a high note and leaves us wondering. If it's not good at the end it can't be the end. A good story we like to read and hear about over and over again has a good ending. 

My Semi-colon
I want to take it a step further and make the idea of the Semi-colon Project a 24/7/365 goal. I want to take the comfort I felt enveloped in when I read about the Project and keep it in my heart always. I don't want to tattoo a semi-colon on my wrist but I want to re-draw it on my wrist when I am in need of comfort and breath deeply with each stroke of the marker on my scarred flesh. 

One finally sentiment to ponder as I head out into the sunshine and warm ocean breezes. "Suicide does not end the chances of life getting worse, suicide eliminates the possibility of it ever getting better."

I love that you took the time to read this. I value you!

Credit where credit is due:
$1.29 is all it takes to add your voice to the cause. Go to iTunes and download Brian Brynes song. Please
Learn more: The Semi-Colon Project is on facebook. Look them up. Make a mark for someone you love or for yourself.