I just read a book called "The Pact". I found it to be a very upsetting book and I'm not sure why. I mean, there is a lot to be upset about. The girl, Emily, is molested when she's nine, that taints her experience of her sexuality when she's older because she never told anyone and she never dealt with it...and she is pushed into a life she didn't choose, pushed like many children are pushed by their parents’ blind unspoken assumptions – and this life includes a romantic relationship with a boy, Chris, who loves her to death (literally) but whom she sees more as a brother. But because she can’t be honest with him or anyone else, she enters into a sexual relationship with him and she gets pregnant. Her whole life is built on these lies so she doesn’t tell anyone this big thing either and decides the only way to solve these problems is to kill herself, and because Chris is young and stupid and in love, he helps her, which is where the title comes from – the appearance of a suicide pact.
None of that was necessary. The whole story could have been avoided if she had told the truth. I know that if that was the case, the book wouldn’t have been written. I know that drama is made of these sorts of situations. But a part of my soul still cries out that she could have told the truth and avoided so much pain for so many people. She could have told someone what happened when she was nine, and gotten therapy. Or she could have been honest with Chris and told him she didn’t love him that way. Or she could have told him she really wasn’t comfortable with having sex. Or, she could have been honest and told people, especially him, that she was pregnant. And then she could have been honest and said she didn’t want to marry him. Dammit! But because she let her fear rule her, she lied and lied and lied and then, to escape the lies, she killed herself and put two families through a lot of shit that quite honestly was more difficult to deal with than the truth would have been.
Maybe it upsets me so much because I know that I’ve lied to people I love because I’m afraid that I’ll lose them or scare them away or that they’ll be angry with me. Perhaps I find it so upsetting because I don’t know where I learned that. I spent the vast majority of my life believing that I was an honest person and that my family was an honest family with no unspoken secrets and no unspoken lies, but if that is all true then why did I decide that if I soften the truth, my life isn’t as scary? Somewhere I learned to lie to keep myself safe, and I don’t really know why.
I hate that about myself.
I hate that I soften the truth as a natural way of dealing with people. I can count on one hand the people I don’t think I’ve ever lied to in any way…r., T., and J. I think that’s it. Three people in the whole world that I have never softened the truth for. Three people that I believe will see through my façade, three people that will be honest with me, even brutally so, three people that I trust will stay anyway, so I’ve never even bothered trying to lie to them.
But everyone else in my life? I’ve altered the truth to everyone else at least once. And I hate it.
Thank God I can see that I want to change, and that I am getting better – even if it seems to be taking place on a geological timeline. It is so hard to learn to trust people, especially the ones that I think I should trust already. Especially the ones I think I should trust already.
It is so much easier to focus on the fact that I ‘should’ be trusting this person or I ‘shouldn’t’ have a problem being honest with that person than to focus on the simple truth, which is that I don’t trust, and deal with that.
T. laughed once when I went to him in tears about living with M. He said he thought it was kind of funny that a girl with trust issues and a boy who hates being betrayed would end up dating each other. At the time I just laughed, albeit shakily. I didn’t see the extent of my trust issues then. I have the sinking feeling that I am only touching on the tip of them now.
But I guess there is a silver lining. My life isn’t built out of lies. I am trying to be honest with the people I love (don’t ask about the ones I don’t. One thing at a time, people, one thing at a time). I have cleared the air the last three times I hedged around the truth, even though it was very, very difficult to do, and I found out it isn’t such a horrible thing – it’s actually quite a relief. It’s been almost a year since I consciously decided to stop making excuses to shield myself from my own bad choices, which for me was a huge way that I was dishonest with people. And I don’t have a suicide pact with S.
I guess if I was going to make a huge discovery about a ‘bad habit’, now is the time to do it, huh? Just in time for New Years, the time we make pacts with ourselves.
So here I go.
This year, I vow to tell the truth, however scary that might be.
And, hey...at least I know I can live by this promise.