The “I’m Fine” Lie

What possesses someone to take a picture of their wiener and put it on the Internet?  Even if you have a particularly impressive wiener, unless your name is Oscar Meyer, it is purely idiotic to post a picture of it on the web.  You seriously think your private life is private?  You think the things that travel the airwaves are secure?  You can have the best password keeper ever and the most high tech software known to man, but what about the person on the other end of the message?  Maybe that person is wide open to intrusions.

Never mind the ethical considerations.

A lot of us are screwed up.  I may argue that all of us are screwed up; some of us just deal with it better than others.  Some of us have found ways to shelve our addictions and temptations and replace them with good things.  Some of us still can’t resist, so we wear a mask.  We hide in the public view through carefully constructed online presences.  We hide in front of our friends and family by densely woven half-truths.  We tell people we are “fine.”

How ridiculous.  If I truly believed everyone who told me they were “fine” was actually so, I think I’d really be struggling with all the crazy stuff that happens.  ‘Cause I believe a lot of the crazy stuff people do is rooted in the fundamental truth that a lot of the time, they are not “fine.”  I have to tell you the truth though: the people who are not “fine” and take every opportunity to tell me they are not “fine” really get on my nerves.  Even when grounded in obvious truth, it gets hard for me not to think of them as the boy crying wolf.

Because I’m an ass and because some people do cry wolf.  So where is the happy medium?  Well, if you read A Wrinkle in Time, it is in a cavern on a planet in Orion’s Belt.  But seriously, I think there are two things at play.

First, be honest with yourself.  If you aren’t fine, you need to acknowledge it.  My dad was in the hospital for a week and I went to see him at every possible time.  Every other time I went, he was in really bad pain.  Now, I have a hard time seeing anyone in pain, but when it is the person whose approval I crave and whose company I love and other gushy stuff…well, it’s really hard.  And I spent a lot of last week with grit teeth and churning stomach, but when Josh and Scott asked me how I was doing over some Kettle Chips, I said I was “fine.”  I said it because I was telling myself I was fine.  Of all people to lie to, I was lying to myself.  I didn’t want to admit to myself that it was giving me a dark sense of pointlessness with everything I did or looked at.  Even though it was.

You need to be honest with yourself when you’re not fine.  You have to see that you’re struggling with a temptation and admit that to yourself so you can seek help or put things in play to conquer it BEFORE you put a picture of your ding-a-ling in a Tweet.

You also need to be truthful to yourself when you’re not fine.  You’re probably not doing bad all the time.  If you are, you should see a doctor; I’ll help you find one.  Don’t say you’re not fine, unless you really aren’t.  A wolf could eat you and no one would come running (figuratively, of course…I’ve never seen a wolf in Maryland).

Second, determine who should know and can handle the whole truth.  You need confidants.  You need accountability partners.  You need close friends.  I have Becky (who I confessed by stress regarding my dad to after lying to myself and my friends).  I have some really close friends.  Sure, there are people who will think I’m always “fine” or better, but it’s because they don’t know me well enough to handle or understand when I’m not fine.  They don’t know what “fine” looks like or where it falls in the 1 to 10 scale of emotional responses.  Not everyone needs to immediately know your deep dark secrets (for example, about how much you want to put pictures of your hoo-ha in an e-mail).

I’m trying to find the Happy Medium, and I don’t have a spaceship, so I won’t be going to Orion’s Belt any time soon.  I have struggles.  I admit it.  I’m trying to be honest about it (with myself and the right people).

You have struggles.  Admit it to yourself.  Find someone to stand with you and help you resist.


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