The Top 6 Lies I’ve Ever Told About Myself
1. I am a bad cook.
This may have been the kind of lie that is so old, I honestly can’t figure out as time goes by, whether its the lie that gets bigger, or the effort to disprove it. When I was twenty years old and newly married living across the country without any family, I was unsure and naïve in my culinary abilities. I tried hard to be a great cook. I put a great deal of effort into proving this lie wrong. But outwardly, with each failed attempt at homemade potato salad or ham and cheese casserole, the lie grew bigger and harder to debunk. Over the years, it often kept me from getting my butt into the kitchen at all, for fear the lie would eventually be exposed as truth. But you know what? The real truth is, I’m a pretty decently good cook. Sure I burn things, forget an ingredient, and try to perfect a good dish by trying half a dozen substitutes to turn it into a great dish, but hey, who is ever good at anything right out of the gate? After almost fourteen years in many kitchens with dozens of ovens of varying degree discrepancies, (hence the cause for every burned dish put on my table, ever), I am comfortable saying that although I may never be asked onto Master Chef for my personal take on taco truck tacos, I do make a mean meatloaf. Just because you aren’t a top dog at something doesn’t mean your efforts at trying your best aren’t just as, well, pretty dang awesome.
2. I am bad at math.
Earth shattering, I know. This lie has been told largely because I truthfully hate math. No, I loathe the numbers that make up math. I am not a fan of all the things math represents. Adding up to feel good, subtracting down to feel good, or vice versa. What’s the right answer anyway? And so what if I come to it differently than you? So much emotion is tied to math. So I’ve convinced myself, and all who know me, that I am bad at it for a few reasons. The first obvious one, is so nobody in front of me asks for my help making change in line at the grocery store. I have a true phobia of being put on the spot, that ain’t no lie. But also if I am bad at math then then I don’t get too wrapped up in the significance of it, especially money, the ultimate math problem, right? Math to me, is just perfecting the art of manipulation. By maintaining a vague appreciation for the valuation of numbers, it allowed me the sanity of keeping my ego in check while I worked in the banking industry for years helping to lend the almighty dollar by assigning value to people, attaching numbers to them every day. Good person, bad credit? You lose. Bad person, good credit? You win!
My apathy for values especially aided me in dealing with those people in life, who base their worth and mine on the number of digits and amount of zeros following our names, educations, titles and inevitably, bank accounts. So my fib for being bad at math was a useful defense, although a bit absurd in my former profession, to protect my distaste for people being measured by their numeral worth. And I’ve got to be honest, this lie has served me quite well. Its gotten me out of countless grade school math homework assignments with my kids when I really don’t remember what a trapezoid is or how to find the square root of whateverintheheck, I stopped listening two hundred seconds ago. Its even gotten me better deals on big ticket items like furniture and cars, by confusing those I am locked in negotiations with, with my dizzying attempt to explain my nonsensical math logic, to the point where they often just cave in, and give this poor girl who doesn’t understand numbers, a fairer shake than intended, just to get her out the door! Manipulation? Maybe. One could say that’s just what math is after all. Yep, lying about being bad at math has its perks, because ignorance, even if perfected over time, is still absolutely bliss in my book.
3. I am a good driver.
Slow does not mean good. This one is foolish and maybe even reckless of me. Truth is I took my driver’s test at 17 1/2 twice, barely squeaked by with a pass on the second try by flirting big time, and then proceeded to get into 3 different accidents within the first 6 months as a new driver, and still to this day cannot parallel park, have been known to drive down a one-way street the wrong direction (fairly often,) and still shutter when I have to make a left into traffic without a light. Sometimes if I have visitors in the car with me, its helpful if I just hand them over the keys to begin with. I have been known to fluctuate the pressure on the gas pedal by unconsciously syncing it to the rhythm and cadence of a story I am telling. I am not sure where my poor driving skills come from, but if this lie has taught me anything, its that sometimes, especially once you reach your mid thirties and your night vision starts to go, that its perfectly ok not to be good at everything that most adults know how to do. By exposing my lie I am probably saving dozens of angry road travelers the anxiety of experiencing the close call of a ditz heading the wrong way. Not to mention it gets me out of being the driver on long road trips, which is a nice bonus. Which brings me to my next lie.
4. I am a ditz, a ding bat, a dummy.
This one has a long history that I’ve been lugging around with me dating back to grade school. I figured out when I was pretty young that to cover up doing something accidentally stupid, do something purposefully dumb. That is, be your own first and loudest heckler. If drawing attention to yourself draws attention away from your mistake, then its all worth it.. Right? This is a lie that although seeded in good intentions, eventually over time snow-balled out of control. I am neither a ditz or a ding bat. I am actually quite the opposite. I’m very intelligent, articulate and funny. Funny should have always been my distinction; not my crutch. I’ve learned that its ok to be smarter than those around you, I don’t need to dumb it down, or turn myself into the court jester to relate to others or make them feel less inferior to me. If they feel that way, that is their problem, not mine. Its human to be different from each other, and there is no prize in diminishing yourself in front of others. If you make a fool of yourself in front of someone to help them feel comfortable with themselves, ask yourself who you really helped in that situation. It relinquishes my self worth to them in that moment, when they didn’t even ask to have it. Be who you are, especially if who you are is imperfect. And even more so, if you are confident in that imperfection. Never lose yourself or your self respect at the expense of trying to put on a good show; the price of admission isn’t worth it, and there are no refunds.
5. I have a horrible memory.
This one packs a punch. This, as much as I want it to be true, is just a big fat lie. I have many reasons why, in my life, I have opted to hold up this card while I tap out. Its easier to have a crummy memory when the memories are crummy. However, I’ve reached a place where I am no longer comfortable clinging onto this one, as if trying to revive a dead goldfish. It can’t be done. And so I flush this one down the pipes with Goldy where it belongs. I honestly have a pretty incredible memory. I can remember some of my life’s sweetest moments in vivid detail. Like, the look on my husband’s face the night he walked into that pub to meet up with my friend and I for drinks. I can remember the beanie he was wearing, and the long sleeve shirt he had on. I can remember the way he walked towards us, the way his eyes sparkled when he laughed, and the way the room seemed to melt away into a drippy watercolor of pastels as he began to speak. I also remember many other sweet moments. The sound of my very heavily British accented, great grandmother’s voice when she would lovingly refer to me as her “bubala.” The smell of my grandfather’s aftershave and the humming sound of his electric razor as I watched him curiously in that powder blue tiled bathroom that always smelled of English rose soaps, in the house where some of the greatest moments of my life occurred. The smell of that cedar chest, that housed some of the greatest treasures of ordinary people that I’d ever seen, that were all together extraordinary to me. The smiling faces of my babies the first time they took a step. Or rode a bike, or the exhilaration and pride in their eyes as they saw me watching them from the bottom arms outstretched, as they slid down the “big” slide by themselves for the first time. My memory is pretty damn good indeed. Bad memories are just that, bad. No need to suffocate the thousands of great ones with this pathetic lie any longer.
6. I am a scardy cat.
This one is perhaps the biggest whopper of them all. I have been spinning this one mostly in my adulthood, and its made my nose grow longer with each passing year. As a child I was a total tomboy. A big sequin bow wearing gritty, muddy, lizard-catching tomboy. I could climb any tree, in one of my daily wear, fancy dresses, as good as any boy could. I used to race the boys around the grass fields and through the playgrounds at school; knowing I could easily catch them, because I was always one hell of a runner, but letting them think they had me beat so they’d keep letting me try. One of my favorite things to do in kindergarten was catch (not super hard to do) the fuzzy black caterpillars from the cement wall at the school’s edge and watch them crawl up my hands and down my arms. Their microscopic feet tickled and prickled. Those fuzzy little guys were as fascinating to me as anything I’d ever seen, scared? nah. I’ve instinctively blocked my children from harm, and I even had a pet rat once. I jumped out of a moving car once, and I have jumped out of a moving train wreck of a life more than once- so when did I take on this persona of being so afraid of everything? Truth is, I may just be the bravest person I know. Sure I don’t climb many trees anymore. Fuzzy caterpillars are better viewed these days in HD on the Discovery channel, but I am still that sequin bow wearing tough as nails tomboy at heart. This lie is rooted in fear, and grew out of a chronic condition of wanting to find a soft and peaceful solace in a sometimes harsh and cruel world. But somewhere along the way, I lost my grit and let a chicken little fear of the unknown set in. My children would probably describe me today as a mom who puts a HUGE emphasis on safety, and being a risk taker is not in my vocabulary. Don’t forget to look both ways, while I hold your hand, and if possible, have it duck taped to mine, so that I can protect you from anything and anyone, in this big ole’ scary world. Jump, but not too high, ok? Ride, but not in the middle of the street. Fly, but not too fast. Go for it, but not too hard, just don’t hurt yourself. Shame on me for not only fabricating this lie all these years, but for inflicting it upon my children. We are all born with bravery. I may have lost mine for a bit, but taking risks are worth their rewards. Its high time I reward myself for being a tough as nails take no prisoners, bad ass underneath the cloak of this protective lie; by losing this one for good. I’d rather leap and fail, and show my children how its done; than be too frozen in fear to ever move a caterpillar inch.