I have grown up on lies, so I search for them daily, like old habits that I always come back to, whether or not they will hurt me and harm me and make me feel sick all over.
Not big lies, but I have been fed small, bite-sized lies. You are not enough. You can’t do it. You would be better at something else. You are not pretty enough. You are smarter than them. You are not smart enough. This will be important to you someday. Make me a sandwich. This is not right. Where is the mustard? You are not enough.
The problem with lies is that they become little facts in your brain. A whisper turns into a shout and then it becomes who you are, without you even asking for it. After the shouting, trust becomes impossible because everything that is close to being true is full of doubt and strands of advice and suggestions that you never asked to hear.
The lies I tell myself:
I am not afraid. I like everything that we do. I like being quiet while you talk. I like the way you smell. You are handsome in the morning. You are so funny. You are so strong. What a nice car. I love cats. I like sci-fi movies. Of course that’s okay with me.
And I lie to my body when I stay up all night with you. I tell her she will get sleep another day. I will make it up to her, so my hands can touch your arms and hold onto your shoulders and my mouth can move without making a sound and I can tell myself that these are the moments that I am supposed to enjoy.
So I will say things like, “I can sleep better on my own,” or “I like sleeping on this side of the bed,” when really I sleep best wrapped up tight, unable to breathe or move or feel anything at all, with my head buried so deep in your chest that I could just suffocate and die. Every part of my body will fall asleep and then I will be completely numb to everything you say and do.
After turning off the lights, I like it best when he lies on top of me and only parts of me can move. I feel his sighs on my stomach and my sighs are felt by the sheets beneath. The sheets’ sighs are felt by nothing because they are crushed too thin to make a move or maybe it’s just that no one cares because sheets are just things. But we are supposed to mean something more.
Then he whispers lies into my ears and I feel at home, like a kid again, before going to bed with the door cracked open just enough so that I could see the light from the TV, sweeping its way down the hallway. Then the whispers become shouts and the shouts become what I see when I look in the mirror.
And people keep saying, “What do you want?” What do you want? All I can say is that I want someone who will not lie, who cannot lie, but what I crave is someone who will only lie. What I want is for everyone to stop saying, “You are more than enough,” because being more than enough is too much.
To wake up one morning and to recognize not only you, but me. To say, “I am afraid,” and for you to only say, “Me too.”
Katie McMahon is a lady who lives in the North Hollywood area. She has a bachelor's degree that she keeps on her bookcase and looks at sometimes. She is getting a master's degree to put on her nightstand. Sometimes she takes pictures which you can look at here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/katiemcmahon/sets, but you don't have to if you're busy right now.