“Every lie is two lies — the lie we tell others and the lie we tell ourselves to justify it.” ~Robert Brault
If you want to do something to make my mama mad, just go ahead and lie to her. My mama values honesty and integrity. She believes that you should tell the truth and do what you say you are going to do. Nothing wrong with that! She is right.
And that is how I was raised. I think that is why I hate politics so much. But I suppose that is a different post.
The thing about telling lies is, that you think you have covered up the truth. However, by lying, you have not made the truth any less true, a little more obscure, maybe, but still true. The truth is still out there, following you around. And it has a way of eventually finding you. And biting you on the behind.
I was raised in the South. The land of sweet tea and “yes, ma’am” and “no, ma’am.” The land of small towns where everybody knows your business and most girls have two first names like “Mary Beth” or “Anna Grace.” The land where “Hey, y’all!” and “Aww! Don’t you look pretty today!” (whether true or not) are common greetings.
Sometimes I think the South is the Land of White Lies. The land where telling half truths or slathering the truth in some sort of weird non-compliment is the norm—always stated in a sing-song-y tone of voice and punctuated with a smile, of course.
We are the masters of obscuring the truth. You know, ‘cause we wouldn’t want to hurt anybody’s feelings, now, would we?
(image credit: someecards)
Let me submit these to you:
What she said: Bless her heart. What she meant: Lord have mercy, she is a train wreck!
What she said: Well, now THAT is a hairdo! What she meant: You should get your money back, honey, ‘cause you are lookin’ a sight!
What she said: Well, now, look at YOU! What she meant: Really? You chose to wear your pajama pants out in public?
What she said: What a sweet baby! What she meant: That is the scariest lookin’ child I have ever seen!
What she said: No, honey, that doesn’t make your butt look big—it makes your waist look really small! What she meant: Wow, your butt is really big. You should burn that outfit NOW.
Truth be told, my mama never took to this practice. She just didn’t have the time for any fake-y behavior or for folks who engaged in such behavior. And I don’t subscribe to it myself, not as a general practice. But I would be lying if I said I never used the “Bless her heart” line.
Don’t get me wrong, I love being a Southern Girl! I appreciate the ability to say difficult things with a smile and as much sweetness as I can muster. Some of us can speak the truth in love without lying or being unkind.
Some Southerners are just plain mean in all their syrup-y so-called sweetness and someone, let’s say a non-Southerner, after being told off by some sweet ole Southern Belle, won’t even know what hit ‘em! They walk away all confused and about ten minutes later it hits them—“Wait a minute! She just said my butt looked big…to my face!”
All Southerners are not that way, of course. But we are human. And in our humanity, we all lie at times. I am guilty too—even in all my inbred belief in honesty and integrity, I am imperfect.
Yes, I lied to my parents when I was a teenager—many times. (Sorry, Mama!) Yes, I taught my kids to believe in Santa and the Tooth Fairy. Yes, I have told someone they look great when maybe they did not. (Not any of you reading this.) And yes, those are lies.
As much as I believe in honesty, I also believe in mercy and second chances. I have been forgiven so much…and continue to be forgiven every time I lie or screw up in some other way, as I am often wont to do. And I am sure I will tell someone at some point in the future, “Yes, that IS a great outfit!” Or maybe I just won’t say anything at all. Bless my heart.
This is my offering for Two Shoes Tuesday. Each week, Josie gives two word prompts to choose from and you must include one or both of them in an original essay, poem or story. You can use them as a theme or the words themselves. This week’s words were white and lies.
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