"Believe Me, I Lie" by Annie Nishida
I am a chronic liar. Symptoms of my illness include: lying when asked questions, lying when no question is asked, and lying to one’s pet strawberry plant about forgetting to “feed” him when, really, one was just too lazy to get up to spray him with his daily dose of water. It is, unfortunately, not a valid excuse to miss work or school, and only two out of five dentists say that brushing your teeth “doesn’t make it that much worse, really.” However, recent scientific discovery has proven there is a cure! It’s something called “telling the truth,” and it sucks. I decided I better try it out, so here goes…
To my parents: I’m sorry I lie about my non-existent job hunt.
I tell you I’m constantly looking for and applying to jobs in my field of work. The truth is, when I get home from a long, tiring day of work at the ol’ ice cream shop, I eat dinner, watch an action-packed hour of Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune, and then continue snacking until I pass out from my potato chip/hummus/carrot/salsa coma before the clock strikes midnight. Yes, I know I only work three days a week, but the rest of the time, I’m busy doing fun stuff like going to Disneyland, gushing about how much Broad City “totally gets it,” and masturbating (none of these are done at the same time, except maybe the last two) because those are things I enjoy. I have my whole life to work a full-time job, talk about taxes/the state of the Icelandic economy around the water cooler, and hate my life. Just let me have my Cove Bar lobster nachos, Abbi moments, and frequent Os while I’m young ‘n fresh, man.
To my boyfriend: I’m sorry I lied about my non-existent sexual history.
We were both 21 when we started this thaaang. Before we kissed for the first time, you asked when my first one was. I just shook my head “no,” which technically wasn’t a lie, but it also wasn’t a truth. And then I made matters worse by making up an elaborate story about how a male human was actually interested in me at one point in my life, and that we made out on the track at my high school. Lie. This made it impossible to tell the truth about my very fabulous virginity, which led to you to think I was “experienced” and therefore, like, totally down with having my feet hoisted towards my shoulders the first time we did it. I just didn’t want you to think I was undesirable and unattractive to your peers. I didn’t even consider that you’d previously found my collection of nail clippings I’d yet to throw away, and still wanted to do sex together.
Oh, and while we’re reminiscing, that iconic moment was about the closest I’ve ever come to knowing what a piece of floppy sandwich bread feels like when you fold it in half to make a hot dog bun, so thank you.
To my friends: I’m sorry I lie about enjoying social things.
I hate parties. They make me nervous because I never know who’s going to be there, what they’re going to talk about, what we’re going to do, how much physical contact said activity will require, or if I’m going to know anyone there, even though Facebook invites let me know all of this information, in addition to each guest’s social security number. On many occasions, I’ve told you I don’t drink because I’m allergic to alcohol. This is not a lie—I’m allergic to a protein found in fermented foods such as alcohol and overripe bananas, and it makes me sick (I’m a real joy to have at boozy smoothie making parties, obvz). However, that’s not why I don’t drink. I don’t do it because I don’t like that enough of it makes people act like loud, unrecognizable strangers that are all in on some joke I don’t understand. Try telling this to a group of college kids and post-grads poised to play beer pong off a coffee table propped up by their Intro to Cinema course readers.
Also, I don’t like pot because the one time I smoked it, I ended up eating a whole box of Cheez-Its.
To myself: I’m sorry I lie.
I do it because sometimes I’m uncomfortable sharing my own thoughts, history, and opinions. I do it because sometimes it’s difficult to stand up and reveal that I might be a little different. I do it because sometimes it’s goddamn scary to tell the truth! When I lie, I know exactly what outcome it will produce. When I tell the truth, there’s an uncertainty about whether or not I’ll be accepted.
I support lying because it’s comfortable and safe, and because no one really needs to know how many Tagalongs I’ve eaten in one sitting. But I also support truth telling because it pushes me to be vulnerable and build stronger relationships with others who may have also eaten 12 of those chocolate-peanut-butter-heaven cookies in half an hour.
And because of this, I promise I will stop lying forever… and that is definitely maybe not entirely a lie.