Tuesday, July 18, 2006


And the Lying Liars Who Tell Them... (my apologies to Al Franken...)

Why are we so quick to believe the lies? It doesn't matter if dozens of people, known and random, says the new hair do is wonderful! cute! ... what is heard and remembered every morning in the mirror is that jealous woman who said "what the hell did you do to your hair?".

I heard someone ask recently "How do get over caring what people think?" or something along those lines. She wasn't asking about the big things... like your children thinking you're a good mom... but the little things like "am I being judged for wearing grubbies in the garden?" Her question is a good one.... Why DO we care?

Why do we care about the opinion of someone who would think "look at her getting muddy in her grungies! How TACKY!" Martha Stewart can just shut the hell up. And I'm guessing that ol' Martha isn't camera ready when she's stirring the compost....

It is the lies that reverberate in our heads. Some friends of mine are working their way through the book The Artist's Way. I have the book too. One of the exercises was to list and then purge the "monsters" that told you that you weren't creative or artistic... at all, enough, the right way... whatever. One is to also list "Champions"... those that championed all things artistic that you produced. We listen to the monsters and dismiss the champions. The point of the exercise is to reverse that. Listen to the champions, dismiss the monsters.

The problem with lies is they are so good at masquerading as truth. Often, they have just enough truth to make them appear to be whole truth. Far too often they are told by someone who is trusted and would be in the position to speak the truth. Sometimes they are told in a vacuum... away from any one or any thing that would contradict the lie. Lies hide under rocks an leap forth unexpectedly from new sources.

Recently I have both been fed up with a particular lie (for all the usual reasons one would get fed up with a lie) and fascinated with this lie. As this lie resurfaced recently I was watching Court TV and half listening to the talking heads. One of them said, speaking of Andrea Yates, "does it matter if it was God or Satan that told her to kill her kids?" I thought how true a statement that is. Does it matter WHO tells the lie? If it is a lie, it has no validity no. matter. who. repeats it. The Lie resurfaced from another source. It was not shocking as I have always believed The Liar and The Repeater are in communication. It was surprising that The Repeater to the special effort it took to repeat the lie. I am also sure that because The Repeater said it, she felt it took on truth and authority.

No. It is still a lie.

The Liar and The Repeaters (there are more than one... without many Repeaters, lies die) find authority and truth in their own repetition. Pointing to The Lie as proof of The Truth. "The Lie said it, so it must be." and "The Liar said it, so it must be true. The Liar has always spoke truth." Yea. Until The Liar lied.

When I first heard The Lie, I thought it was a joke. The Liar SURELY did not say such a thing. That is ridiculous! Who would believe it! I giggled over The Lie because it was so outlandish. But The Lie took root and now has a life of it's own. I suspect I will be reminded of The Lie for many years to come.

I can, and have been sorely tempted to, offer a line by line rebuttal. But that is just fertilizer on the weed. I can only continue on as I always have. Being the same person I always have been. For it is not I that has changed. I continue to pray for The Liar. I continue to pray for The Repeaters. For unlike them, I have heard both The Lie and The Truth. I also know my own actions and words. The Repeaters don't have that privilege.

A couple of months ago I read an advice column that runs in our paper with a letter from someone who could have been The Liar. It wasn't... the circumstances were vastly different. But the story was, of course, only her point of view. I could absolutely understand why she felt hurt. Why she saw her friends the way she did. But I also heard her voiceless friends.

In the past I would have heard that one side and made a judgment on her friends. Now... I hear the other side. I can see that there is far FAR more to this story. Even if the written story was precisely accurate, there is a lie lurking in those words. A lie of omission perhaps, but a lie nonetheless.

I have never been one to believe what is said just because of who told it to me. I am even more wary now. I also am more sure of who The Repeaters are. People who not only should know better but who would be ever so quick to condemn others for doing the same. Respect for such folks is at an all time low, even as they look at me with increasing disdain. No worries.... judge me on the words of others if you wish. Your action as a Repeater speaks more to your character than of mine.

Such it is with lies. They catch up people who would never dream themselves in the middle of such pedestrian webs.

Fortunately, lies are pretty easily dealt with. Continuing being the person you are and proving that The Liar is indeed a liar is the best cure. It's a long process, but the most effective.

Guarding your heart? I still don't have an answer for that.


Sarah said...

beautiful. well said.

Elaine said...

Thank you, Nancy.

Martha in CA said...

Hoo doggies!

I'm tired and punchy. I know EXACTLY what you're saying, and couldn't agree with you more. That said, the sleepy, silly me, has got "liar, liar, pants on fire" running through my brain! And I don't mean to take away the seriousness of your post.