On bows and arrows

In English, the word ‘lie’ slides off the tongue, while its Greek equivalent ‘ψέμματα’ needs to be spewed out with your lips and teeth. We lie every day, to make things easier, to avoid long conversations we’d rather not have, to feel better about ourselves, to keep people happy, to stop them from knowing how we really feel, think and operate. We lie to extinguish the truth we yearn to utter but know the other cannot digest.

We lie to live. We lie to conceal either the strongest or the most vulnerable parts of us. We lie to enliven the average, maximise the mediocre, and emphasise the ‘normal’.

We lie because its reaction is safer, more predictable and possibly less damaging for the parties involved. We cannot speak of judgment without being judgemental. We cannot contemplate truth without acknowledging the utterance of lies. 

A friend told me recently that people will listen if you open up and speak out; that it is our own fear of embarrassment and self-judgement that keeps you cocooned and alone. ‘People are way nicer than you think,’ he said, ‘sometimes it’s all in your head.’

I paused and ruminated. I entertained the idea of divulging what I am, and have been for some time, convinced I will agitate my listener. I’ve mulled over scenarios with a multitude of results, but again, they were all in my head. I’ve been disappointed more often than I’ve been pleasantly surprised, but that only amplifies the worth of those who astounded me and elucidates what seems to become clearer every day. 

If we don’t speak, and we don’t risk, and we don’t wager, we will never win, we will never learn, we will never be surprised. An educated guess is better than silence and a veiled truth will tell you more about your audience than a sugar-coated lie. 

We lie to simplify, and yet we constantly complicate the straightforward to further conceal the raw facet we fear of a realistic truth. We pile lie(s) upon lie(s) to fabricate truths we know the other person will see or has already seen through. 

We’re proud to have made it an art. We devise strategies to perfect it. We embroider it with hints of kindness to make it seem benign. We bathe it in a light of concern and protection and insert the venom in the needle-sharp point of a shooting dart. 

We are all Cupid. We all shoot. We have all killed.

We are babies flying with a bow we believe we are entitled to. Aware but indifferent to the consequences of our lethal game. 

We lie to secure a place within a life we have been convinced has been designed by someone other than us. If we are not the creator, we cannot be the destroyer. And yet, we are both. 

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