This is the Shape of a Lie

I’ve always known I could spin the stories in my head into believable semi-truths. I have used this “skill” for selfish and what I believed were positive purposes.  

I used to think lies were like slips of paper in my mind. When I thought I was done with them, I could file them into neat little folders, lock them up and throw away the key. Or better: burn them. 

Lies have shape. I realize this now. They have color and depth. They are weighted and real and sit on your soul until they are dealt with.

Some lies are thin and reedy; the I-know-betters and for-their-own-protections. They whip through the air without much resistance. You are so sure of them that flicking them around comes without much thought. When you tell them, you feel the sting for a moment, then it goes away and you think you’re free. The red welt that appears later is a surprise.

Some lies are the heavy ball-and-chain of shame. Even if they start small and well-intentioned, they snowball. It is the lie you are telling to save your own skin. Even if you believe it is for the best, you know that the truth could come out, but you are too scared to let it. You hate the weight of it, but you have not seen yourself without the chains of lie draped over your body for too long. You are sure you can make it part of your own.

Even if you wear the lie well, though, it will be heavy to carry. It will drag at your ankles and wrists. It will sit like a cannonball on your chest– always ready-to-blow, a teetering explosion balanced on the knife’s edge

For years, I have told myself I would learn to live with the weight. I have been carrying these lies bundled on my back for years, my own personal cross to bear. I was sure that the shape and weight of the lies was common place. It was the cost of living. I have been tempted to ignore the lies and keep going. Move forward, I would tell myself. Don’t dwell on it. 

The thing is, you cannot actually move past a lie when it’s strapped to your body like a bomb.

Sure, I’ve learned to live with many of the lies. Ignore them, even occasionally go so far as to forget about them. Something always happens, though, that reminds me of the weight that sits on my heart, between my shoulders, and in my gut. The feeling never fully goes away.

Now that I understand the ramifications of them, the question remains: What happens now? How long will I hunch my shoulders, “moving forward” silently in agony? When will I finally stop, lay the lies at someone’s feet, and ask for acceptance or, more radically forgiveness?

More importantly: at what point will I be able to set down my bundle, lay out the lies, and look at them myself?

Can I accept my lies?

Can I forgive myself?

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