I have recently been audience to some immaturity of the sort that I can only compare to the ninth, or perhaps tenth grade. It was accompanied by a web of lies that was so easily unraveled that it was laughable, and yet the one spinning the web refused to let go and accept that they were caught in it. All of this made me think about the days long ago when I would try to do the same – I can remember being maybe fourteen or fifteen and telling a lie that got me caught up so badly that I barely wanted to leave my bedroom in shame. When I was young I think I lied like that frequently, trying to make myself more important, more interesting, or just to get some attention. It rarely went well, and often backfired on me in terrible ways. I don’t remember the details anymore, just the feelings I had then – the feelings of inadequacy that made me lie, followed by the extreme self-loathing once I had dug myself too deep to get out.
The last time it happened, some sort of switch in my brain went off and I made a sudden, conscious decision to just stop lying. From that moment on, when I started to feel the urge to tell one of my compulsive lies, I would stop myself and just say nothing. Occasionally I get the urge even today to say I am capable of something when I’m not, or say I’ve done something when I haven’t, but that switch is still flipped, and I am extremely conscious of every word I say because of it.
Not to say that I don’t lie – I am no saint, I will stretch the truth for the sake of embellishment, or tell lies that don’t really have impact on anything (like, say, telling Adam when he phones me that I already started the laundry, when in fact I haven’t yet and completely forgot to do so.) I just don’t tell compulsive lies that can’t be backed up and will ultimately lead to complete shaming when I am found out. I can still remember that self-inflicted humiliation (no one else remembered it after it happened, but I obsessed for months afterwards.) I would like to avoid that feeling, thank you.