Wednesday, November 21, 2007

An honest life

So I’m on the plane to Vegas last Wednesday reading an article in Wired magazine about prioritizing tasks to become more efficient with the ultimate goal of having nothing on your mind.

It’s all very new-age Zen let’s wax each other’s auras stuff and I’m thisclose to bailing when this little tidbit about Ben Franklin catches me: “[He] first identified his governing values, then he made a concerted effort to live his life, day in, day out, according to these values.”

Before you could say ‘nice bifocals it’s a shame about your teeth’ this thought popped into my head: Lead an honest life.

Lead an honest life.

It felt profound. It felt like being re-connected to the Universe.

And it wasn’t the sudden realization that leading an honest life is what I want to do, but that it’s what I’ve been trying to do as far back as I can remember.
C’mon, Hedy. When was the last time you lied? Be honest.

Sunday. Checking out at Mandalay Bay. The woman behind the counter is reviewing the room charges.

“Did you have Pringles?”


“Two cans?”



GODDAMMIT. Why the hell did I just lie about that second can of Pringles? She’s a nice lady, doing her job. What the fuck is the matter with me? It certainly wasn’t the $5 price tag – my willingness to pay any price in snack-related crises is legendary. And what sort of Karmic retribution does the Universe dole out for lying about potato chips?
Terrible. Why did I lie about the second can?

Because I’m feeling really really fat lately and admitting it to a stranger was like shouting “YES, I AM A PATHETIC PIG, RENDERED POWERLESS BY PRE-FORMED POTATO PULP CHIPS!” to the entire lobby.

Odd. Somehow it feels better having told you just now.
I know what you’re thinking.

Jesus, Hedy. If you’re willing to lie about Pringles, what else are you keeping from us?


Tell me you haven’t lied about something equally silly and benign in the past week. If you say you haven't, you're lying.
“Doesn’t it bother her?” asks my good friend Spike via IM a while back.


“Your Mom. When you write things like ‘party hard and f*ck harder’?”

Sure it does. She’s a Mom. She worries.

But for this blog, my one guiding principal is to always tell the truth no matter how ugly or silly or demented it is. To not worry about offending anyone, but to write what I think. And hell, what's the point in writing if you're not 100% honest all the time?

I want my people to know me for what I am, not for what they’d like me to be.

Mom understands that more than anyone.
I know what you’re thinking, part two.


Well, a) they were the small, hotel size half-cans. And b) When you're working a trade show you don't get much opportunity for regular meals. And c) Shaddap.
Here’s a good question: When do you find yourself in situations where you feel you have to be dishonest?

For me (aside from the occasional snack food slip-up) it’s always always always to avoid hurting someone’s feelings.

And not in the “Does this dress make my ass look like a gas can?” sense, because friends will always tell you the truth when it comes to clothing choices.

I lie when I'm in those uncomfortable, surreal situations where someone else isn't being honest about themselves or whatever and they've asked you to join them in their version of the world.

It sucks.

I did it to that woman behind the counter at the hotel and she knew it.
So why all the honesty talk here?

Because someone I don't know well has put me in a situation where it would be best to lie.

I don’t want to.

I want to tell this person that her request is not only unreasonable, it is quite ridiculous. But I can’t.

And it bothers me.

So you can lie about potato chips to a stranger to protect yourself from embarrassment, but you can’t lie to a family member to protect her feelings? What’s that all about?

To be perfectly honest, I don’t want to lie to this person because I am frustrated for being put in this situation by someone with limited social skills. Telling the truth in this case would make her feel worse while making me feel better.

But the karmic fallout from making her feel bad will be greater than if I just suck it up and lie.

This leading an honest life shit sure sucks sometimes. I guess it's a good thing I'm not very good at it.
I am listening to: The man next to me on the train horking snot
I am reading: Trade show lead spreadsheet
And I am: A liar


Posolxstvo said...

what i find most interesting about this was the bit about being honest with your mother. I have two parents, as is typical, but while my mother was alive, I never felt that I could truly be 'myself' around her. Had to couch all my words carefully so as to not send her into a downward spiral of "I am a horrible parent" stuff.

My father, on the other hand, I can be myself around. I can speak my mind. I can use the language that comes quickest to mind. And I feel much closer to him than I ever did to my mother.

There just might be something to this 'honesty' crap.


You try to live an honest life. I try to live a life of integrity. Which involves honesty, but also involves charity, and kindness, and wisdom. I suspect that you try to live a life of integrity as well, given what I have read of your stuff, but I suppose that the accuracy of that guess is heavily dependent on how much integrity you have had in your postings.

Hedy said...

Yes, I can definitely be more myself around my Mom than my Dad - it's just the way of things, isn't it? Although she pretty much tells him everything so it's on him I guess whether to believe everything she says about his sweet little daughter. :)

I like your integrity thing. A lot. My honesty thing comes from this constant quest for "The Truth" I've had since Forever. I wish I was less emotional, I coulda made a damn fine journalist.

The thing about lying is, it's exhausting. I'm tired just thinking about the lie I have to tell this relative of mine - and I'm putting off making the call (I should be doing it now, yet here I am). And that's why I gave up trying to be whatever my parents or others thought I should be - it was just way too much work. The delightful part about being yourself ALL the time with EVERYONE is discovering that (most of them) still love you no matter what. :)

Dave said...

I'm not so sure. Yes, I lie, seldom, but I do. Most of it is of the "that certainly is a beautiful baby" sort. But, there are times when truth is not called for. A friend is wrong. Dead wrong and wants your affirmance. If it isn't life and death, give it to him or her. He or she doesn't want you to parse their delusion. Related, I can "avoid the truth" without lying quite well. Again, there are social and business situations where the question asked is not something I want to answer. Deflecting the question is the better part of valor sometimes.

5.8 inch said...

Now I feel Horrible about calling myself "10 Inch," because it's NOT TRUE! Oh God, all these years of lying to the ladies! Nooooo. NOOOO! I feel awful! Oh Hedy, I'm so sorry!

taxman said...

5.8 inch doesn't need to apologize, he wasn't fooling anyone (we all know he is still lying)