When I was growing up, one of the things my parents taught me was to be truthful—no matter how hard it was to do so, it was what was expected. Now I’m not perfect by any means, but I took this lesson to heart. I can honestly say, I’ve never told a lie. (Well, let me qualify that. Technically, I have never told a lie, but sometimes I haven’t told the whole truth . . . which is really a lie clothed in gilded wraps.)
The whole fake face thing never worked for me. Believe it or not, I never really wore make up on a regular basis until after I was 35. Putting that stuff on my face felt like I was painting on a mask, creating someone who really didn’t exist. Smearing makeup on my face was an outward sign that I was trying to be someone I was not. I’m not exotic or sexy. I’m just the girl next door. After all, a person doesn’t need make-up for that role. Right?
This shortcoming of never learning how to effectively lie has been a problem for me in my grown-up life, especially in the work place. I was a miserable failure when it came to playing the corporate political games, which required a certain amount of lying savvy. I heard more than once, “Don’t sugar coat it, Barb; tell us what you really think.” In other words, “Shut up! You’re committing political suicide, dummy!”
Most of all, though, my failure to tell a good lie is that I’m writer. I’m always looking for the truth. On top of that, I’m also practical. Let’s face it, telling a lie is difficult. I’m not lazy, but I’d rather spend my energies on producing hard, honest work instead of having to remember what I told to whom.
Another good reason to tell the truth is this: The truth will always come out. Just ask Lance Armstrong and other professional athletes who lied about their cheating tactics and got caught. Because they lied, they will never know how successful they could have been without cheating.
The only thing I’ve found where lying is useful is in storytelling. Take the soap operas. There’s always a series of lies that characters get caught up in, and what are we waiting for everyday when we tune in? I’ll tell you. We’re waiting for the day when the truth is finally revealed!
I look at it this way; I’d rather bear the pain of telling the truth than the shame of having to deal with a lie revealed. It’s just the way I’m built.