There was a time in my not so distant past when I thought to stretch the truth into something other than what it was to make myself look better than I was, was the right thing to do. Now, I find that sort of behavior appalling. I find talking to that type of person only bores me and makes me want to hurry along my way to wherever I was headed when I ran into them, or rush to get off the phone when they call. Sometimes, I walk out of my way to avoid them when I notice them walking my way down the street, and simply ignore the phone’s ringing when I see it’s them on the line.
Who changed? Me, or them? I think me.
There used to be a time when someone would ask me to do something for them and if it was something I didn’t want to do, or couldn’t do because I didn’t know how, rather than risking making myself look bad for simply saying no, or admitting that I didn’t know how, or that I simply didn’t have the time due to other more pressing commitments, I would make up some dumb excuse, but we both knew I wasn’t telling the truth and soon that sort of behavior had done more damage to my reputation and our friendship than simply speaking the truth from the beginning would’ve ever done. Now, when someone asks me to do something I cannot or don’t want to do I simply say that I cannot, give the truthful reason why, and we all go on our way in peace and our friendship remains.
What changed? Why do I live in this new way rather than in the old ways which I’ve described? The reason is simple. I realized that the truth will indeed set you free. I realized that I could be myself and be just fine. I realized that people knew if I was telling a lie and that in the end that lie did more harm than my simple truth could ever do.
During that horrible dark period in my life when I was so seriously ill, so seriously lost in my head due to my mental illness being out of control from all the horrors I’d experienced in my life I had people around me who, rather than discourage me from my behaviors, encouraged me, and in fact, sometimes they helped me along in my sick behavior. I knew deep in my mind and heart this was wrong, but rather than face myself, and the possibility of being all alone, I shut those voices of reason into a corner of my mind and refused to set them free. I refused to allow them because coming from that darkness into the light revealed too much of what I’d become, and the admission was terrifying to me.
Now, I look back on that wreckage from those days gone by and I shutter to think of all the damage I did to myself and others around me and I cannot believe that I was ever that person.
I’m grateful that those horrifying days are behind me and now I feel nothing but pity for those I know who are still living the lies. I feel sad when I ask a friend to help with a project only to get the reply that they’re busy with this project or that job, and then I see them chatting happily on social media with their friends, read some new file they’ve uploaded to a group we both belong to or see a blog post they’ve shared after they’ve just blown me off.
I feel sorry for that friend in whom I used to trust when I realize they helped me continue my psychotic behavior just so they could continue their own sickness at my expense, and when I do take a few moments out of my day to try and talk with them and two-minutes into the conversation I realize what they’re saying to me is nothing but so much of the same untruth they were spouting last month when I spoke with them, and as I hang up the phone I shake my head and wonder…
Who changed? Did those I write of above change, or were they always that way, and is it me who finally got her head out of her ass, grew up, faced herself and made the hard changes needed to be well, and have a more decent existence?
If I’m honest with myself, though it hurts to admit those I thought were my friends really are not healthy for me, I realize that it is indeed me who changed, and though I cry tears for those I’m having to choose to walk away from in my life, I know I must.
Because it is true that you’re who you are around, and I do not wish to go back to that. No, I must not go back to that. I’ve worked too hard to rise above the circumstances I once found myself in, and though there are days when I struggle mightily, and there are days when I’m not sure just how I’ll get by, I realize that no matter what, living the truth rather than a lie, no matter the cost is the only way to live, and for me there is no going back.
It is with those thoughts in mind I step back into therapy next week because I see parts of my mental illness rearing its ugly head. It is with those thoughts in mind that I choose to meet my needs out of the money I make from my business rather than sat those responsibilities aside and just go have fun. It is with those thoughts in mind that I say to you who make dishonest excuses as to why you aren’t available to help and to those of you making it up as you go along, telling tales about what you’ve done, who you’ve talked to and where you’ve been that I can no longer have you in my life. I can no longer be around those who would lie to my face, because to do so brings me back to a standard of living I have worked hard to rise above.
Do I think myself better than you? No. Just healthier stronger, and more successful because I’ve chosen truth. For in the end the truth will truly set you free.
I’m not responsible for you so I cannot tell you what you should do. Besides, in your heart you know.
I cannot judge you because it is not my place to judge, but if you’re honest with yourself, you know.
I can only whisper a prayer for you and hope someday you too will choose truth, because as I say, in the end the truth will set you free.