I am a dishonest person.  It isn’t that I TELL lies.  Trust me (I note the irony), I could never get away with more than a little white lie anyway.  But I usually avoid those, too, with vague, enthusiastic cliches that convey nothing.  For example, the word “interesting” can mean so much when you say it with feeling, but on its own it doesn’t even say whether a thing is good or bad, it just isn’t boring.  And even train wrecks aren’t boring.

When I was in high school I learned the value of under-sharing.  On the rare occasion that I wanted to go out with a guy I told my parents that “some people” were going to a movie.  I just never clarified that “some people” meant him and me.  They never asked, and the lesson has served me well.  Unless you are testifying in court, people rarely ask if you are telling the whole truth.  They just assume you are.  Okay, maybe that isn’t the best example.  Back then I clearly implied that there were more than two people in attendance.  Over time, though, I became quite adept at telling nothing but the truth while skirting it almost entirely.

I was also painfully shy in high school.  It was generally easier to avoid conversations altogether than struggle through them.  With time I have outgrown the worst of it – I can handle myself in professional situations, and I have learned how to converse with strangers.  What I am not good at – still – is letting someone in.

Whenever a topic becomes too personal I use those half-truths to avoid being honest, or I just turn the conversation into a joke.  I hate the idea of letting someone see enough of me that they can hurt me.  Or judge me.  Unfortunately, if I don’t react quickly enough I don’t react at all.  I literally lose the ability to speak.  I turn bright red, my eyes get all shifty and refuse to make contact with anyone else’s, and I can feel my throat swell to the point that I can’t speak at all.  I can’t stand feeling so out of control, so I just avoid conversations that lead to that point.

I excel at avoiding the truth.  It didn’t matter until my avoidance hurt someone else, and I couldn’t explain what was happening.  Now I see how much it hurts me, too.  I lost the ability to be honest with myself, especially when it comes to recognizing the things I want.  It is as though I am afraid I will jinx my goals even if I only think them.  Or that if I tell someone else they will just point out that I have ridiculous goals.

It is odd that this is still my reaction.  I feel like it has been a long time since I felt cowed by the opinions of others, but maybe the truth is that I anticipate their opinions, assimilate them into my own, and react without an actual catalyst.  The hows and whys are something I will have to come back to another day.  Most likely over wine.

Today I am simply going to resolve to improve. I can trust me even if I am not ready to trust anyone else.  When I think I might be on the edge of finding something that I want, or at least want to pursue, I will try to stop avoiding the truth behind the thought.  I will tease it out and think about it in its entirety.  I will think about the thing I want, and I will think about how it would feel or taste or smell.

I don’t want to shut down my wants anymore.  I want to honor and enjoy them.  I will learn to excel at finding the truth.