Monday, December 28, 2015

Lies and Love

We are all liars. We lie to each other, but mostly we lie to ourselves. We create these ideals of what and who we are, and when things happen in our lives, we often get hurt and confused when they turn out to be something we didn’t expect. We don’t mean to lie to ourselves, in fact, we don’t often know we’re doing it. But the pain of the lies we tell ourselves, well, the pain hurts us really bad. Most often, even in the midst of the pain, we can sometimes still refuse to see the truth.

Why do we think it hurts so much when we’re disappointed, when our faith is tested and we’re deemed wanting? We hurt partly because we believe we failed on some level, but mostly because we were deceived, things didn’t turn out as we had imagined them, as we had hoped, as we had believed. We try to blame everything and everyone else for that pain. But if we really look at each situation in our lives, the worse of the pain stems from realizing we were wrong.

When I found out I had cancer, I instantly wondered what I had done wrong in my life to have deserved this punishment, to have earned this disease. That’s how I’m programmed to believe, that there are consequences for my actions, that for every action there’s an equal or opposite reaction, or there’s a blood price to pay for the sins we commit. When my ex-husband told me that he was never attracted to me or was never in love with me, I thought I deserved that, too. I didn’t deserve to be loved. The things I loved died. When my father would beat me for talking back to him or denying him, I thought I deserved the pain. The things I challenged hurt me. I was disobedient, and how can the universe, God, faith, or science honor disobedience? Even the natural laws of the universe have abstracts. When my oldest daughter ran away from home, I thought I too deserved that, after all… I ran away. I had just begun the journey of loving myself, loving my body, and loving my mind, and daring to love someone else when the cancer attacked. But it wasn’t the cancer that hurt me; it was the lies, the fantasy of a life I had created for myself, and those around me.

I ran, not so much from the people I loved from this crazy idea that it would hurt them less when I died if I was already gone, but I think I ran more from the dissolution of the dream world I’d built for myself, the hope of a life I dared to dream, and the reality of that dream didn’t live up the fantasy. Not even the man I thought I loved lived up to the man I had imagined. That’s not his fault, that was mine. It was unfair for me to build him as I had. He was perfect. He was simply amazing. Was he as I imagined him? Far from it, but I liked the lie. I fell in love with it. But as with all lies, the truth finally revealed itself, and I got hurt. No, I shattered.

So, here I am now, at a new place in my life, a strange place, because I can’t explain what happened to me, what happened to that dreamer, but I somehow I changed. I have slowly been piecing myself back together. While there are familiar fragments of the woman I used to be, I’m something different, I’m something new and the way I look at life, love, and living is something new too. Could it be another lie I’m telling myself? Maybe. I know I’m capable of it. I’m a writer after all, which makes me a master manipulator, an imaginative dreamer.

I don’t say this about being a liar as something derogatory. On the contrary, some of the lies are beautiful. The truth is always hard, always absolute, always concrete, but we are fluid, moldable, movable. The truth of life for me at this time is that not everything in my life is beautiful. There are struggles, there are strings, there are twists and turns, uncertainties, and a whole lot of choices. But there’s also adventure, discovery, and even love.

I’m falling in love again… in love with my life, in love with my body, in love with my mind, in love with my gifts, in love with my passions, in love with my sense of adventure, and in love with love. I might also be falling in love with this one particular Dominican Marine. Love has hurt me deeply before, broken me, shattered me, but I’m ready to try again. I’m ready to dream again, and the truth is… this is what living is all about – falling down and getting back up again. Love isn’t the broken pieces of my life, it’s the glue that keeps putting those broken pieces back together again. And that, my friend, is no lie.

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

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