As an advertising copywriter I am adept at making accurate statements in such a way as to allow, even encourage, people to leap towards inaccurate conclusions. As a poet I use words with precision and care until all that remains is emotional truth, expressed with as much elegance and clarity as I can summon. So, the duality of language is familiar to me, it is a sublime tool for concealing as well as revealing.
I was raised on a steady diet of lies, as if they were an essential food group, a staple, never out of season. When this happens it is not long before lies are no longer recognizable as such, they become facts. This is not quite as dreadful as it sounds, we all believe an astounding variety of preposterous lies and many of them yield beneficial results. However, if you are on the road to recovery lies are not merely impediments, they are mortal enemies determined to eliminate any chance you have.
Learning how to stop lying to others is a stroll in the park in comparison to unlearning the habit of lying to one’s self. This is almost impossible to do alone – since you are offender, victim, and instructor all at once – it is much better accomplished with the help of fellow offenders. Your brethren in disingenuous locution will be quick to “call you on your merde” – if you can forgive the colorful vernacular – and let you know when, and even why, you are attempting to sell a hot, steaming pile of twaddle to them and to yourself.
As you become relentless about chasing truth, when you come to crave it like your next breath, life itself will shift on its axis. However, even though you and your world are transformed, the world around you remains intact. Suddenly it will seem as if the skyscrapers are held together with chewing gum and lies, and, like the small child watching the Emperor, you will want to point and shout. Be careful. Just because you have learned to live without lies does not mean that others have. Many people are heavily invested in the Emperor’s wardrobe and will not reward you if you reveal what has suddenly become obvious.
As the great Taz Mopula once said, “If you are going to tell me the truth, at least have the decency to buy me dinner first.”
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