“We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.” ~ Anaïs Nin
I noticed the other day there are items in my closet I avoid. And realized those are the things that are most significant to me…events, images, moments…the items of truth. I will not wear them because they fit too well, because they are part of who I am in an overwhelmingly intimate way.
I’m all about authenticity and honesty. But these things are too real. And I don’t want anyone, including myself, to face that level of real anymore. It would mean…well…I don’t want to talk about what it would mean.
Perhaps it’s time to admit I too have learned it is possible to lie.
I put on my new outfits and heels and look lovely. These new things have no story, so I make one up. I am the powerful, elegant lady who smiles and paints her nails and wears expensive perfume.
I watch this woman who looks like me and wears my new clothes as she walks and admires herself in the tinted windows of the modern office building. She looks accomplished and confident, and has a French name that suits her (a stage name in the office, how ironic), and her heels make an important noise on the corridors when she walks around to a meeting or to pick up something from the printing room.
She arrives in the morning with her designer coffee and rushes up the stairs thinking about how nice her legs must look in funky shoes and fitted skirts, a simple elegance, always with a twist. She smiles at me because she knows I of course arrive sleepy and look at my watch wondering how to make the day go by faster.
I confess sometimes I want to be her. She writes pretty well, eats healthy snack bars, fruit, yogurt and micro-greens. I write better, but I smoke, and like milk chocolate, and drink a Coke every other day. She fits in the office, and organizes her paperwork. Meanwhile I wander through streets in other continents and spend my time daydreaming with books of poetry and a journal in small European cafes.
She talks slowly, smiles at people and concentrates on her work. I sit in her chair and only notice the birds that come to the window, and the clouds, and dream about the sea.
She picks up her paychecks and acts responsibly, pays the bills and reluctantly buys me cigarettes. I could care less about the bills really. I simply want to go buy good bread and ice cream and go sit somewhere on the grass or on the sand.
She is meticulous, dedicated, focused. I get sleepy and would love a nap at all times of the day, and cuddles, and would spend most of the salary on flowers and beautiful dishes and pillows and gifts and some sparkly things I used to like in those days I smiled a lot and believed life would finally be so very simple and beautiful.
But as elegant, poised and confident she is, I noticed there’s something missing in her eyes. She doesn’t let me look too closely, choosing instead to show me her outfits and hair, but I see. I see her eyes, and in that absence that lives there, I see what they hide…I see the clothes I do not wear, the places I avoid, the songs I don’t listen to, the thoughts I run from, and books I will not touch.
Some days I find it annoying that she’s around, but I must admit she is useful…even necessary. Perhaps it is time to admit I too have learned it is possible to lie.
Maybe the worst lies are not in the things we say to purposefully hurt, deceive, or buy favors we did not earn. Maybe the worst ones are in the things we do not say…the things we try to bury, the things we turn away from, the things we throw away and manage to convince ourselves we must forget, the things we pretend have died when we know they did not and can not…because they whisper softly, always, inside our souls.
I suppose she would know better about such things…about lies…but I don’t think she cares.