“Invitation” by Shel Silverstein
If you are a dreamer, come in
If you are a dreamer, a wisher, a liar,
A hoper, a pray-er, a magic-bean-buyer…
If your’e a pretender, come sit by my fire
For we have some flax golden tales to spin.
Silverstein, Shel. Where the Sidewalk Ends: The Poems & Drawings of Shel Silverstein. New York: Harper and Row, 1974.
I come from a long line of liars. My dad is a liar. My grandpa was a liar. My great-grandmother was the biggest liar of them all. My sisters can be liars. I think that my niece and nephew might be liars, but they are young and only time will tell. The kind of liars I am talking about are story-tellers. If you read my “About” page, I claim to be a trainer of spies, named Rosie. Yeah, that is a mostly-lie, so I am part of that club too.
There is a huge difference between being a liar and being a good yarn-spinner, memory-keeper, truth-embellisher, leg-puller. The kind of liars I am talking about are the people who can tell a good story. Interestingly, the best storytellers I have known are also some of the most honest people. I think that when everything you come across has the potential to be an interesting story, there is no need to falsify the record. The facts are what make the story so amazing.
Why is this important? I have spent the day reading stories the “future-spies” wrote. It is 6:00 and I am about half done (Yes, these are one page stories. No, even with medication, I am not particularly focused today). Some of them are doing a great job writing stories and I have had some laughs, though it has not been a great day for me. For the past few days, I have been thinking about the difference between the truth and lies we tell ourselves.
I don’t tell everyone I meet everything about myself, but I consider myself to be an open and honest person. I try to present myself as I really am, without embellishment or excessive dramatics. I hope that when you know me, you don’t have to guess what I really mean or if I am engaging in some kind of manipulation. I was in one relationship with a man who would joke about “those games women play.” Among other things, that was one of the many nails in that relationship coffin. It may take time to get to know me, but you will never have to guess if you know “the real me.” Most of the time I have a good sense of who is a like-minded person, and therefore, trustworthy. I am put-off by those who strike me as false and avoid interaction with them as much as possible.
In previous posts, I have alluded to the “emotional stomach-virus.” The germ that started it was a very small lie that someone who seemed trustworthy told me. That lie turned into a bigger deception which could not be sustained. When those lies fell apart, his world came apart, and consequently, my world crashed down around me. Because I was being honest and transparent, I expected that he was too. I believed what I was told because I had no reason not to. When someone breaks trust with a genuinely honest person, the damage they do can be monumental.
There is a fine line between truth and fiction in real life. There are times to keep things to yourself. Trust me— there are times that people give me more information about themselves than I ever wanted. I suppose that this is just to say to those who are like me, be cautious. I am painfully reminded how tender the trusting heart is. To those who create a persona that is different from reality, is everyone involve in agreement about the charade? Can it be sustained? What damage will it do when it falls apart?
Now that I have expressed that warning, I am not going to stop telling stories. I hope that at some point I will be able to see the ridiculousness in life again and tell the story. Right now, the best I have in me is a chuckle every now and again. Maybe I will even figure out how to write some real lies— we call that fiction, right?
Now that I have killed another hour of my sweet time, I suppose I will go back to reading the young “spies” lies… since that is what I should be doing right now.
What should you be doing right now?