How To Lie To the World

February 8, 2008
By Kathryn Mahan, Fredonia, KS

If you want to know how to lie to the world, you have to lie to yourself. If you want everyone to think ‘everything is going fine, nothing to worry about,’ then you have to look it.
Get up in the morning and splash your face with cold water. Paint on a smile and don’t let it fall. Put a little powder over the circles under your eyes and pin your hair back. Keep your smile.
It’s time for acting. The teacher is life.
You’ll be an expert soon.
You’ve got no tragedies in your life. Try not to eat like there’s no tomorrow. Pack up your bags with cool and self-assurance and walk out the door.
Walking is the tough part. Walking, you’re all alone. When you’re with people, you have dignity to protect, you have those there who need you to be strong.
When you walk, you lie to yourself, talk to yourself about the sunset, about the sidewalks that need fixing, about the neighbor’s new car and you talk yourself out of disaster.
It’s all pretend, but you can’t think of that.
When you get into the world of people, of people who actually care about the neighbor’s new car, you’ll be more lonely than you have been in a long time. But you don’t want to share anything. You don’t want their pity or sympathy.
There’s no reason for it, everything’s fine.
You pretend you care about what you say, you pretend to laugh and be attentive. As Life’s pupil, you’re doing well.
What you need to pretend when you’re alone, too. You pretend it isn’t happening, and if you’re lucky you can sometimes forget. Just brief moments you can forget, but that is survival.
There is no crying.
There is no sympathy, none you will accept.
There is no asking why.
Not even in the dead of night. Not until it’s over and you are no longer needed.
Eventually, that time will come.
But not now.
Your disguise will be effective to most if you’re lucky. Only those who have heard the rumors and look for false signs will claim to see otherwise. Those, and your best friend.
You can hate your best friend.
Forgetting would be easy but for the concern in their eyes, because they can see deep enough into yours to understand.
They don’t offer sympathy or pity, but an infuriatingly innocent friendship.
You can hate your best friend. The one person you can’t lie to, even when you can lie to yourself. Months, months later, when you finally sob, it won’t even be with them. You can’t cry to your best friend when you tried to lie to them. You can’t cry to anyone. A magician never shows his tricks. A good actor won’t spoil the performance with an emotional slip.
So back away from them a little, those who see the truth, and face the rest of the world. So much easier to face. So much easier to lie to.
If you want to know how to lie to world, you have to lie to yourself.

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