My divorce attorney said my life is like an episode of Breaking Bad. Not exactly the encouraging words one is hoping to hear from someone to whom you are paying hundreds of dollars an hour. However, he was right so I didn’t balk when the bill came and the line item said, “Told client the cold-ass truth. $300.”
Truth speaking is important to me. It always has been. Maybe that comes from my early childhood when my mom would say, “Tell the truth and shame the devil” whenever she wanted me to come clean about something (which was usually about not cleaning something). Referencing the devil when I was a kid scared the crap out of me. I was certain he was under my bed waiting to drag me down to hell as soon as I told a lie. It was a brilliant strategy on my parents’ part to mention Satan himself from time to time to keep me in check.
As I grew older, I figured out that The Heated One had better things to do than to hang out under my bed, so the fear of fire and damnation dissipated. However, the Anxiety Fiend took over where Beelzebub left off.
What if I get caught? (high school)
What if the cops show up? (college)
What if Costco sees me take eight sample bites of quiche? (last week)
Worrying about what might happen if I didn’t tell the truth kept me walking the straight and narrow, but it wasn’t very fulfilling. It felt regimented and forced and like I was phoning it in. Telling the truth was about doing things right, instead of doing the right things for the right reasons.
As the events of the last two years unfolded and secrets began to find the light of day, my quest for honesty and truth took on greater meaning. I began to see that being honest and truth speaking are two very different things. Being honest is a verbal act that’s been whittled down to three letters in a Tweet, such as:
“That hair tho, tbh.”
Truth speaking, on the other hand, is a commitment. A minute by minute, day by day, promise to be open and transparent. To be honorable and give good intent. To be vulnerable. That’s why it’s so damn hard! Truth speaking requires us to let the world see who we truly are. To see our beautiful flaws and inadequacies and failings. To see our very soul.
Painful as it may be, I want that in my life. I want to truth speak so that others can see my whole heart. My torn up, patched back together with super glue and string, healing heart. So I will take the risk of being hurt in order to live a life beyond phoning it in. I have been hurt before and it did not kill me, even though I thought it would. I am up for the challenge. I am a truth speaker.
Ok, fine. It was nine sample bites of quiche.