September 5, 2016: The Day I Stopped Lying to Myself (Part 1)

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The truth is a terrible thing.

Lies are beautiful, because we get to make them. Just like we build lovely houses to protect ourselves from Mother Nature, we cocoon ourselves in pretty lies to survive reality.

"My life might be miserable now, but it will get better with time. As long as I work hard and treat others well, I'll be rewarded. One day I won't have to worry about the bills. I'll have the power to change the world for the better. I'll meet my soulmate, and I'll live happily ever after."

These are lies because, when we tell them to ourselves, we don't know whether they're true or not. We insist they're true because we need to believe them, or we'll give up on life. Believing these lies, and living as if they're not lies, is the only chance we have of turning them into truth.

For some people, the lies do become truth. They succeed professionally. They rise up the ranks. They meet their ideal partners and have effortlessly peaceful marriages.

But for others, the lies get exposed for what they are. Truth--being a terrible, apathetic, amoral thing--pounds relentlessly on our precious cocoons until they break.

"Meritocracy is an illusion. The world is too big for one person to change. Life isn't fair and perfect soulmates don't exist. There is no 'happily ever after' because you will die, and there's nothing you can do about it."

Depressing, huh? I told you, truth is a terrible thing.

For the past couple of months, I have protected myself with a very particular lie. I know you know which one I'm referring to, Diary, because you've gotten on my case about it time and time again. Therefore, I refuse to give you the satisfaction of spelling it out just yet. I will only say that today was the day I stopped lying to myself, and you'll have to listen to the whole story to hear me admit the truth.

Charlotte and Winston drove me to Will's house for his Labor Day barbecue. When I called Charlotte and asked if I could catch a ride, I thought it was a beautifully convenient and stress-free arrangement. Unfortunately, I'd forgotten that the soon-to-be Mrs. Collins has developed a habit of amusing herself by meddling in her single friends' relationships.

You see, Diary, we humans have an endearing universal trait. When we find something that makes us happy, we are compelled to spread that happiness to everyone we care about...whether they want it or not.

When we eat a delicious dish at a restaurant: "Mm, this is amazing! Do you want a bite? No? Here, have a bite. You have to taste it."

When we find a binge-worthy show on Netflix: "It's so good. You would love it. Yeah, I know you don't like zombie apocalypse shows, but this one is different. Just watch the first episode--you'll be hooked!"

And when we get married and settle down in the two-story house with the white picket fence and backyard play set: "So how's your boyfriend doing? Has he proposed yet? Your babies are going to be so cute. Oh, everyone says they don't want kids at first. You'll change your mind, believe me."

So even Charlotte Lucas, the definition of the modern independent woman, greeted me on the driveway by saying, "Look at you, sexy! You and Will are making some progress, huh?"

Now, I did put in some effort to dress up, but is that really so strange? I was about to go to a party full of local celebrities. Of course I would dig out my best sheath dress and put on a little eyeliner and lipstick. It had nothing to do with Will...as I told myself at the time.

I climbed into the back seat of Charlotte's new family-friendly minivan. "We worked some things out. We're cool now."

Charlotte backed out into the street. "'Cool,' huh? So tell me more about that dream."

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