I recently found this post on Family Love Does More. The video is powerful and Angie’s post is worth a read.
Driving down the street of my hometown I point out the donut shop where my longtime friend works. My mother replies, “I don’t eat donuts.” I call bullshit. Just the other morning there was a receipt on the kitchen table for a cup of coffee and a glazed donut. Mother says it didn’t happen. “It’s on the receipt” I persist.
“Oh, that wasn’t a donut. It had a hole in it. It was a pastry. Donuts have a filling.”
What? Is she serious? It had a hole so it isn’t a donut, even though the receipt clearly states, “glazed donut?” I’m mystified.
“Because I don’t eat donuts. I couldn’t,” she replies.
I bite, “why not?”
Then, the answer that I never expected to hear from the mouth of a person who is well into her seventh decade (but don’t tell her I told you that), “because if I ate a donut, I would hate myself.”
I was floored. Really? Truly? Your self worth is so tied to what passes your lips that you are willing to rename food you eat just so that your psyche doesn’t figure out what you’ve done and beat you up for it? And your psyche is so out of touch with reality that it’s okay with this arrangement? Wow.
I guess the lesson here is that a donut is not a donut when your self worth is tied to your food intake and you eat something that will cause you to “hate” yourself. What a sad state of affairs. I would rather love my fat self and enjoy a donut, whether it has a hole or not.
This former daily prompt made me really stop and think. What was the last lie I told and why did I tell it? Hmmmm. Immediately I figured it must have been in school with my students. Little fibs happen all the time. Usually they’re to keep things running smoothly in the classroom and to create the outcome that I want. For example, I pretend to randomly choose a student to contribute to the discussion, but really have my victim (uh, I mean volunteer) chosen ahead of time.
This type of orchestrating allows teachers to avoid situations like the one my colleague nearly found herself in as her class chose a nickname. They worked hard at brainstorming, and one student came up with the fabulous name, “Mrs. H’s Hooters.” Too bad that name accidentally got left off the ballot as they voted. Clearly Mrs. H fibs too. Sometimes it’s a matter of survival.
Aside from school, I’m a pretty honest person. I don’t lie about my age or my weight (although I might prefer to avoid the topic of exact pounds). I tell the doctor all the things I’ve done that I shouldn’t, and all the things I haven’t done that I should. I fill out my taxes accurately, and I even stop at the stop signs in parking lots when nobody is around to see me.
When it comes right down to it, I think I mostly lie to myself. I lie to myself every morning as I look in the mirror. I tell myself that I look pretty good, but as soon as a see a photo I cringe. I lie to myself about how much time I’m willing to spend on certain things, about how interested I am in certain projects. I lie to myself when I say yes to projects that I don’t have the time or energy to pursue. That type of self deception is foolish and ultimately pricey. It is also damaging and gets me into trouble. It has gotten me to a point where my health and well being have been compromised. I’ve decided that it’s time to be brutally honest with myself. If I won’t do it, nobody will.