Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Pulling at the jumper threads

Maybe they are just little ones. Meaningless, harmless slivers to simply go with the flow, not to offend: Yes, we are really enjoying the party even though our shoes are killing us, the food is inedible and the people attending are at best aloof, at worst obnoxious. But we smile and we even bust a move or two on the empty dancefloor, because to admit that this party we've been looking forward to forever, is in fact a damp squib and about as much fun as a visit to the smear test clinic, would somehow be too much to accept. Especially as we've forked out for a new dress, some lippy, six gins and a pricey cab home. Or we'll tell ourselves we aren't really cheating on our diet - how could a small cake-pop really hurt? It is so ickle? A quick run for the bus and we'd have worked it off. Maybe we'll lie to ourselves that it doesn't matter he forgot our anniversary, or that so and so never called back, or that the email we hoped to get from a colleague isn't that important after all.

Day in day out as we spin our webs of white threaded lies to other people: 'you've lost weight, no really you have,'; 'yes, I'd love to come,'; 'I'll call you - we must deffo meet up,' - I wonder what are the lies that we spin to ourselves?

Do you tell yourself you are happy, after all - got the house, the car, the kids, - but to maybe admit it aint all what it is cracked up to b,e would be to pull at the jumper thread, to unwind our entire lives - and then where would you be? Do you look at your other half and sometimes wonder why you are still standing there, facing them, facing a future together? I have one friend who claims she isn't sure she wants kids, stresses this every time we meet - that is why she has held off for so long she will say over and again - then will gladly accept ovulation sticks and spend 30 minutes carefully going through how to use them. She gives herself away in her actions, although her voice may something entirely different.

Actions rarely lie. Note the tight smiles, the vigorous nodding, the glimmers of sadness in the way a person holds themselves. The smile that never reaches the eyes. Do we admit that we are trapped in our jobs, that life didn't work out how we expected? Do we confess that we really don't like a sibling even though we love them, or that if we met our best friend in the street now for the first time that they wouldn't be a friend? Do we tell ourselves we are happy for people when inwardly we are a vivid shade of green? Do we fill our days with work and people so we can never face what really is bothering us deep within - if we stopped for just a second we may actually feel - and we can't have that. We can't open that door. Keep busy, keep busy. Do we plough on refusing to give up, because to do so would be to accept we aren't that talented after all? Do we buy the latest bag not because it 'feels so good', 'will last forever' but because it spells out 'wealth, success, status' and ultimately makes us feel 'better' than our friends? Do we secretly compete with other women - to be thinner, to be better dressed, to be a better mother, to be more successful - because that is all we know? Do we put on a performance, a mask that we have worn for so long we are scared to let it slip?

Do we say we are fine, because that is what you do, don't you? You don't say how you really feel, because no one is really interested. They want the stock 'yeah, I'm great' reply. They don't want let in. Easier on the outside. Do we keep to the friendship rules - the 'I'm always there if you need me' hoping that they will never call? Do we pretend to still love people even when we don't?

Why do we lie? What are we scared of? Our house of cards... will it really come tumbling down? But the sun will rise. It will be a new day. And we can begin the lies all over again.


jkelsofarrell said...

I think the cruel joke of life is that when we reach our goals, it's rarely what we thought it was going to be. We romanticize things in our heads: this career will satisfy me and validate me, this party will be a ton of fun and I'll catch up with friends and it'll be great, this vacation will be so relaxing and I'll shed my stress, and so on and so on. Sadly, like a movie version of a book, what's in our head is always better.

Lisa said...

Beautiful post. I thought there would be dozens of comments, but alas, perhaps it frightened too many. So much truth.

Chaos said...

Reading this post is like looking in a mirror.