Wednesday, July 16, 2008

In defense of lying..

I just read a short story ... well it's a true short story about someone who lies - a lot.

About inconsequential things.

But she lies.

Sometimes she invents an actor boyfriend, or pretends to be a designer living in Rome, or claims she has had 4 husbands when she has actually just had two. She lies to make herself seem more glamorous, less ordinary, more interesting, more fun. She is honest in her personal life, with her friends, she doesn't bullshit people. But when it comes to inconsequential things - she lies.

It's interesting because she claims she does it out of insecurity, it's an innate need to not feel ordinary... so.. feeling ordinary drives her to make up these stories. I don't buy that. That just sounds like one of those psychobabble conclusions that helps everyone sleep at night. That kind of thinking doesn't allow for the possibility that someone who tells lies (bad bad) could possibly not have a dysfunction.

I personally think she's just trying out new identities. And why shouldn't she? She's a writer, a story teller, a performer, you either do it professionally, or you do it in your life. (or hey, you could do both, a writer needs to do research, collect material!) My point is why *should* anyone be stuck in one life, one identity. Do you really owe the truth to complete strangers in social contexts? It's much more fun to make up stories. It's not like they care whether you are telling the truth or not. Other people enjoy hearing these stories just as much as you enjoy telling them. It's an outlet for your creativity, it's a performance, it's a refusal to be put into one box and be forced to present yourself in that box, it's an opportunity to free yourselves from your "identity", your "demographic" and present yourself how you imagine yourself on the inside at that particular moment in time. Sure your life in all it's down to earth practical non-glory limits you to that one identity and one life, but why can't you expand your mind and heart and soul to create a world, a person, that clearly resides in you, and present that person, that identity, when you meet people.

I am not usually a proponent of telling lies. But I have this problem. When I meet new people and I present my true credentials it makes me squirm, because I feel a disconnect. My credentials don't feel like they represent me. It feels like I am talking about a third person that somehow came and took over my life. When I present my career, my ethnicity, my sexuality, I become... someone I am not. Because with those labels go so many assumptions about who I am.

And it makes me wonder.... Wouldn't it be more honest to present an identity that is true-er to who I am on the inside? And what would that be?

I think this calls for some experimental flights of fancy...

No comments: