Let’s Be Honest

Honesty can burn your tongue. Like slurping a hot soup infused with chilies, the aftermath can sting. Especially when you have been brave enough to speak a truth that feels easier to conceal. But honesty can also rejuvenate. It can be utterly refreshing – like a tall glass of lemonade crowded with ice cubes.

Well timed honesty can hit the spot.

I’ve noticed recently that over the years I have become quite adept at avoiding being honest. I’m quick footed, leaping swiftly over bulky boulders of truth in order to dodge the fall out. But there is a price to pay for circumventing these rocks, rather than standing upon them, feeling the stone beneath my feet, and declaring, “This is what I need to say…”

So I’m beginning the climb.  And I’m starting with myself. Gradually confronting blemishes I have been concealing for years.

First on my list : admitting when I am wrong.

Last night I bellowed at my teenage son for no particular reason, except maybe that I was releasing the frustrations of the day. He was tired and hurt.

Thinking back – everything I said to him was an attempt to be right. To sound as if I held the power. To let him know that I had all the answers.

An hour later I lay in bed calming down and decided to be honest with myself. I admitted  that I was wrong to bark at him. I told myself a painful truth. He’s growing up. He’s slipping away from me (as he should) and my tirade was an attempt to remain loud in his life. I don’t want to be disregarded or forgotten, so I tried to get in his face, to remind him that I’m in the control tower. An impressive illusion.

Being honest with myself helped me to focus on what I do need to do to remain pertinent in my son’s life.

I need to back off.

I need to be present but not pushy.

I need to love him quietly and allow him the space to come towards me.

Hmmm… the sweet cooling sensation of lemons after the bite of chili.

Next on the menu is being honest with other people. I tasted that one this morning when I served up a flavourful apology to my son.

He gulped it down gratefully.


Shall we work on this together? Write for ten minutes using the word ‘honesty’ as a springboard. What have you been hiding from yourself or someone else? What stifled truth needs some air?


3 Responses to “Let’s Be Honest”

  1. Frahnseen
    September 2, 2012 at 8:26 am #

    Honesty. Being Honest. It’s the truth, honest! Do you like my hair cut? Be honest! Honestly!

    I understand the dilemma. I’ve been watching reruns of Glee. Yes , I know this sounds absolutely silly, but something inside this 57 year old body wants to be in the cast and sing and dance through life. Wouldn’t it be just grand? Well, last night the episode was when all the members of Glee told one girl she was a bitch and always meddling in people’s lives and putting them down. She walks out. As she sobs in a friends arms she laments that all she has tried to do is be absolutely honest with everyone, when no one else has the guts to do it. And isn’t this a good thing?

    Is it? It’s a fine line. Crossing over can be like crossing the double yellow line on the highway at night. Russian Roulete. ( I honestly spelled this incorrectly because strangely enough it wouldn’t post with that word) No consequences save a fast beating heart and a little clammy sweat or dreadful consequences. I ask myself. Would I want to know the truth? How would I feel?

    I’ve just been honest with my husband about a topic that I have been unable to broach with him directly and it feels freeing although a bit frightening. What will be the ripple effect of this honesty? Did this hurt him deeply or will this ultimately ease the eventual outcome? Did I just become the villain in our relationship? Only time will tell. I also never knew that villain was spelled this way.

    Little aside. Or maybe the diversion to deflect a difficult topic if I want to be truly honest with myself. I’m diverging anyway. Sitting at Thunderbird coffee, labor day Sunday in Austin, Texas with a group of writers I look out and see two cyclists just leaving putting their to go coffees in their water bottle cages. I love it. I love the diversity of humanity. And cyclists. Some avid and intense to the point of snobbery, some laid back and coffee drinking, some aspiring to greatness or just to improve their fitness level, some looking for social connections, some a trip to the country roads and blowing grasses and horses playing in their fields, dogs chasing you down and adrenalin pumping with the security of a riding group, and some avid and outspoken about changes needed to allow cyclists to commute efficiently and safely. It’s a grab bag to describe the Austin cyclist. I usually find a camaraderie born of the common interest but I’ve also been snubbed. No worries. It’s just like any slice of humanity. Varied and interesting to say the least.

    Back on topic. I’ve gotten very busy since I’ve divulged this true feeling and I’m sure it has to do with deflecting the anxiety I am trying to not let surface. I had a moment of panic and mental insanity with the twenty-seven voices in my head all making lists of what I need to do at the same time and trying to be heard above the others. Whew. Bad enough that I took a homeopathic “calm” pill (two actually-aren’t two always better than one?). Only a one day panic and now it’s transitioned into busyness. Starting with the hiking group my friend Susan got me to join for a hike Friday night blue moon hike, I’ve since joined four writing meet-up groups and committed to two group meeting s this week including this morning, another hiking group and a cycling group. I’m volunteering at Zach theater as an usher this afternoon, meeting Moe for coffee tomorrow morning after a bike ride with Jen in the morning. Sound like knee jerk busyness? Or maybe just the freedom of joining life since I feel unfettered at the moment? This is when honesty is difficult for me. I don’t know what my true motivations are. This is when I need the counsel of my friend Jane who listens and poses the questions and offers up other choices that sometimes confuse and sometimes shed light on my situation from a totally different perspective.

    Honesty is a tough one. Is it black and white or is it shades of grey. How do we know when we’re being totally honest? Isn’t it all within our lens of perception? Should honesty hurt? Is there a right or wrong of honesty? New writing prompts for sure. Thanks for the topic Rory.

  2. C.elsa.G
    September 3, 2012 at 6:09 pm #

    Honesty –

    It’s thick, slimy, hard to keep ahold of.
    You think you’ve got it.
    Locked up in a box in your cupboard.
    You think it’s safe.
    It’s not.
    You think it’s honest.
    It’s not.
    It lies to you.
    Tells you not worry.
    Says it’s not going anywhere.
    But it does.
    It seeps out through the seems of the box.
    Leaving your safe keeping.
    Years go by.
    Leaving without your honesty.
    Wondering if it will ever come back…

  3. Kim O'Hara
    November 18, 2012 at 9:21 pm #

    He at first thought he was being honest but it was as if his lies were steeped in such a resolution they sounded comically forthright. He could take the white lie and run with it, end up sharing it with the one he’d hood winked later over drinks and they would shake their head and commend him for being clever. But he wasn’t clever. He was a liar. He lied and he went to bed on it and slept through the night and woke with pursed lips, dreamless, empty, a vacant cup. He felt bile in his belly because he was a whole lie itself from top to bottom – his head made the dot in the word “lie” and his ass was the e, and his straight back was the L. He had decided that day he was no longer lying and this plunged him into silence. He had no jokes to tell or facts to hide, which occupied his time. Instead he had to think about what a vacant vessel he was, and that he had no hobbies. How his own small apartment now seemed sadly shabby. He decided he would start a hobby right away from a late night informercial on stand-up comedy. He would become a biting liar masked behind the ruse of a comedian. That was the answer. That was what he told himself. And he grew in popularity, and when he asked people what they thought of his act, he didn’t know they lied when they said he was an artist. He was actually very vulgar. He only appealed to the ya hoos and drunks and cynics who lie and lie and like to laugh about their lies. When his mom died, he said to his father on the phone from a hotel on the road “you’re lying” and then did a whole night gig at his dead mother’s expense. And when his girlfriend of two years broke off their engagement, he said “you’re lying” and then went out and told everyone she was a cheating whore when in fact she was almost a nun. He heard the doctor tell him he had some cancerous cells in his blood work and he told him “he lied” until he started vomiting green and yellow bile. And when he died, people said, “You hear about Franky? He’s dead. No lie.”

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