Month: November 2017

Half Truths and Functional Lies

Half Truths and Functional Lies

“Hey…psst…” my eyes quickly darted back and forth. My right elbow was strategically placed over my desk to cover up my test as I leaned a little into the aisle: toward her. Of course, I sat next to the prettiest girl in class—Calculus, you know…the class for smart kids.

To this day, I have no idea how I wound up in that class. Someone in their infinite wisdom thought it a good idea to have me skip some prerequisite class like geometry, or whatever it was, and shove me into a high algebra and calculus class.

I got the glare. You know the one: the prettiest girl in class glare.

Why were all the prettiest girls so stinking smart?

Again, I have no idea.

What I did know, is that if there was any snowball’s chance in hell of passing any test in that class, I needed an advantage. Hence, sitting next the prettiest girl in class.

“What?” she growled through her teeth.

I’m not making it up, she growled, like a dog.

All I needed was the answer to, let’s see, numbers 5, 7, 12…and…etc…I had no clue. Actually, most of high school I was clueless. I mean seriously, how was I supposed to know the freaking cosine of some stupid tangent that got obliqued along the way on some sort of graph? Again, I have no idea.

So, I gave her the sad puppy dog look: brows pathetically raised, cheeks sucked in, and eyes pleading for a scrap…all I needed was a scrap: A, B, or whatever I was supposed to circle.

“…please?” I begged.

She took a deep breath, gave me the look again, softened her posture, flung her hair to the side (why do all the smart girls always have the longest hair to cover up their tests?), and…whew…I got an A in the class.

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I lied and cheated my way through most of high school. Just being honest here. And guess what? High school taught me some very important life lessons.

Then I grew up…whatever.

I didn’t mean to hurt anyone. It’s just that, lying kept me out of jail, spankings, bad report cards, and a slew of other horrible things…usually, consequences of my actions.

Oh, you want to know about my actions?

Well, you don’t have to do a wrongful act to lie.

Lies? Ah, yes, I would lie about X so I didn’t get into trouble. Then sometimes a higher authority would call X into question. Now, I would have to deflect, then tell another bald-faced lie to cover up the first one. But, not a too barefaced lie, because then the lie is easier to detect.

Enter the half-truth. Much easier, honestly, you have to believe me on this…a functional half-truth is much harder to detect than a bald-faced / barefaced lie. White lie if you will. I mean, what’s wrong with a little white lie?

And don’t forget the omission of information. You know, giving just enough information to whomever, and leaving the real point off the table and out of sight.

And…don’t bullshit either! Bullshitting is the same as lying. You see, as an expert of lies, I can tell you that when people bullshit, the truth has no bearing. People who are engaged in bullshitting don’t give a rat’s rear-end about truth or lies; they just want to impress.

We impress because we’re too worried about how we look…in comparison to others: usually with a downward self-comparison—making ourselves look better than someone else in the room.

So, since I wanted to impress others (boss, date, friends, family), I would impress with complete fabrications, fibs, and exaggerations. And…if I did tell you the truth, but didn’t have all the facts…

Confabulation! That’s right. The Honest Lie: just enough truth sprinkled with a little embellishment. Now you like me, and I’m happy because no one will think I’m a fraud and everyone will think I’m a great guy.

As you can see…I didn’t have much of a sense of self-worth and relied almost completely upon the opinions and judgments of others. It will drive you crazy to live like that.

Now then, let me give you a free tip.

When you’re trying to impress the truth upon someone (E.G…your story to the police), never say, “I swear officer, it’s the truth!” If it’s the truth, then why are you swearing?

Never mind.

Oh, make sure to watch out for all those Neuro-Linguistic programming things. You know, all our body language that doesn’t match up with our words. Ever wonder why you could never lie to Mom?

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How do I know all of this stuff? Not because I was a cop for half my life.

But, because I’ve lived half my life lying.

Lies lead to drama, drama leads to stress, stress steals from our physical and mental health; it leaves you in a gutter of despair and in a rut that is almost impossible to break free from.

Honesty is incredibly difficult at first.

It’s so easy to step off to a half-truth. An Omission. A White Lie. Especially if you’re afraid: of who you are, what others think of you, what others might say about you, what the boss thinks, what this person or that person thinks, or just trying to impress.

Lying? Most of it isn’t because we did something wrong or bad, we wind up lying, faking, maneuvering, and working the angles just to be accepted.

Let me share this with you…a great truth that took most of my life to learn, and then to practice: Surround yourself with people who love you for who you are, not what you think they want you to be!

It’s liberating!

I hate repeating destructive cycles in life. I want to be happy which means…

A life free of drama. Free from self-induced stress. Free from lies.

To live true and authentic with myself first, then…toward you.


Photo by Kristina Flour

Posted by Christian Martin Jr. in Reinvention, Self-Improvement
A Short Story About Reinvention

A Short Story About Reinvention

It’s probably a little silly to share this. Maybe a bit juvenile?

But…

When I dive into the dark depths under my surface, wrangle the beast within, victoriously grab the bastard by the throat and surface again with its corpse; I feel like I’ve conquered and taken another step forward.

Sometimes, my steps sort of, you know, slide backward. Instead of rocketing to the surface, breaking the water line a few feet in the air with prey in hand, it’s more like my bloated self slowly rises from the deep, sloshing back and forth as the tempest swirls around and the dorsal fin of the beast that just took me out circles my carcass.

Pretty dark.

Reinvention is like that sometimes. Take a couple steps forward and feel great. And then, we slip and fall back a step.

It feels like a mile backward for every one step forward.

Objectively, that’s not reality. When you set out on transformation—no matter how big or small it is—just the fact you’ve begun a journey of change is absolutely incredible.

Of course, it’s all in the way and how we see, and not just what we see, of our particular circumstance.

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As a writer, I focus on the metrics of a website to the point of obsession, and then wonder if the changes I’ve made were worth it. So much of the ego is tied up in metrics.

Those stinking data marks that tell us numbers but gives no details about the quality of anything.

There are writers out there that don’t worry about such things—what people say about their articles and books, or what the metrics look like (how many folks hit the ‘Like’ button on their published content).

But from what I’ve seen and experienced, we all do…fret over whether or not we’re accepted and loved.

Doesn’t matter what position or title or rank you hold in life.

We place too much emphasis on that damned ‘Like’ button instead of just being authentic with ourselves.

And, living an intentional and authentic life isn’t about pleasing people around us.

As a matter of fact, when we follow our convictions and finally cast off the garb that others have put on us as to what and who we are and where we should be, then we finally come into rhythm with our true selves.

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I recently joined a writer’s group. At the beginning of our meeting we have a short assignment. We all write for 15 minutes about what the group leader reads out of a writing prompt booklet.

This exercise directed us to write about an inanimate object in first person and bring it to life.

Halfway through writing this piece, I stopped and thought, “My God, is everything so dark with me?”

I pasted the copy of what I wrote below so when you get about halfway you’ll see what I’m talking about.

I mean, I’ve really focused on things under the surface and shifting my outlook to being more positive. But, as I thought about what I was writing (below), I couldn’t help but think, “Great, and here I thought I was making real progress.”

Then it dawned on me…Psst, you’re NOT done yet!

So, I followed that small voice into the depths for a moment. Time was ticking and I didn’t have the luxury of doing what I normally do: over analyze the crap out of everything.

I didn’t fret about the timer. I took a quick glance around where this little story was going and I found that it was not as dark as I thought.

The key here? Not fretting and worrying and definitely not over analyzing. Just allow a brief moment to reflect and then…

Keep writing, you’re not done, said the voice in the depths.

I felt the current flowing inside about where to take the story and thought, Wow! Amazing.

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Psst…

You…not me…but you, reading this, yes…You. Are. NOT. Done!

Keep working through what you’ve started.

Keep pressing forward.

Keep working on your dreams, your goals, getting out of debt—wriggling free of the cocoon around you and don’t stop until the fence of the corral is shredded.

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A Short Story:

The roof opened and a stark stab of light shone through the cylindrical ceiling. I squinted but I’m afraid it was no use, the warmth surrounding me began to escape in vapors that swirled around and up and up and up it went. The heat that encased me and gave me a feeling of well-being disappeared into the brightness above.

Whoa! I sloshed against the side of my home, tilted on end, and as I surged in my round sphere I lost my equilibrium and now, not only did I feel the cool air sting my face, the vertigo was too much to bare. The jostling stopped as I felt a hard thud below me. The plunge to the bottom and the sudden stop sent round ripples shimmering across my face and then, as quickly as the stab of day struck me moments ago; the ceiling instantly covered and the darkness returned.

The cool air above was now trapped under the roof that now was solidly in place. Suddenly, drip, drip, drip came from the ceiling above back down upon my face. Steam filled the vacant space between my surface and the roof above, and I finally warmed from the depths below. Thankfully, the ripples subsided, the vertigo eased, and I settled once again into a solemn state.

I’ve heard it said that such an owner will introduce another embodiment here, but I am fortunate; this owner likes me the way I am: dark, hot. Here I sit to fulfill my destiny, remaining as calm as can be, ensuring I don’t spill over the roof when the time comes to be sent forth into the depths of my owner; to warm, to console, to excite, to inspire, to ease the tension by creating an awareness and an awakening from within another body.

I am appreciative that they, whoever they are, have named myself and my kind…coffee.

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Well, the story’s a bit different and maybe a bit silly.

But, maybe not.

A lot can be learned from a cup of coffee.


Photo by MaxPixel

Posted by Christian Martin Jr. in Reinvention, Writing