Liars

/live/

Image: Elaina Ransford

Image: Elaina Ransford

I lie more than anyone I know. I tell little untruths constantly and pointlessly: yesterday, my friend showed up at my apartment and to make him feel welcome, I made up a funny anecdote about our mutual friend talking about him. Later, I got into bed with the guy I'm dating and told him I'd had sex with my girl friend, leaving out the part about the other guy I'd been fucking being there also. Then I kissed his forehead and curled his hair and told him he looked super similar to my ex-boyfriend. 

Then, this morning, I went over to my friend's aunt's house and told her all about my new boyfriend, showing her pictures of my not-boyfriend and gushing about his art. She invited him to dinner and I told him that she'd said I could "bring anyone I'm dating", even though she'd actually referred to him specifically. Then I told him my brother was a year older than he was and told him I'd had a dream where we'd raced in the ocean and he'd beaten me, even though it never happened.

Anais Nin writes in her diary:

"Last night I was sitting by the fire and talking as I rarely talk, dazzling Hugo, feeling immensely and astonishingly rich, pouring out stories and ideas which would have amused you. It was about lies, the different kinds of lies, the special lies I tell for specific reasons, to improve on living. One time when Eduardo was being over-analytical I poured out the story of my imaginary Russian love. He was in rapture."

I value honesty more than anyone I know. The people who lie to hurt instead of to make things better are the ones I hate the most. My fictions make people laugh, make them feel better about themselves, make them think. I'm honest about something other than what actually happened. Perhaps, I'm honest about the way things should be. I hate the people who cheat in an ugly way, the ones who create chaos around their lies, instead of using them to tighten the fabric of theirs and others' narratives.

"Sometimes I feel like a little kid: at once manipulating the world to benefit me over others, and being outraged at the fact that life isn't fair."

"Perhaps I am a demon, to be able to pass from Henry's arms into yours, but literal faithfulness is for me empty of meaning. I cannot live by it. What is a tragedy is that we should live so close together without your being able to perceive this knowledge, that such secrets should be possible, that you should only know what I wish to tell you, that there should be no trace on my body of what I live through. But lying, too, is living, lying of the kind I do."

I expect other people to be honest in the same way I am. My biggest problem with my best girl friend and roommate is our different categorizations of honesty. She omits; I fictionalize. I tell her everything that happens, even if it's only something that might have happened, while she tells me only partial truths, cropped and edited accounts of her days. I am maddened by her omissions, feeling a desperate desire to rip the rest of what happened out of her.

I ended a friendship one time because this girl had hidden a relationship from me. When she finally revealed it to me, she asked me specifically not to tell my best friend, the person I loved most besides my brothers and maybe my dog. It was a test of loyalty, honesty, truth. Later that day, the best friend asked, in a terrible moment of fate, if the girl had been seeing someone and I couldn't lie: I told him she'd asked me to hide it, but I couldn't. I told her too, and she never spoke to me again.

I tell stories, warped and changed for the world, but I can't be honest through hiding.

Sometimes I feel like a little kid: at once manipulating the world to benefit me over others, and being outraged at the fact that life isn't fair. I lie and yet I demand honesty from life. How can any of us align our versions of truth with our interlocutor's version of truth.

A demon and an angel, who knows where one ends and the other begins. I'll kiss your ear and you'll fall in love with my stories and we'll both be happy.