One of the first lessons we are taught in life is to tell the truth. To be honest, and fair. After that come the other rules we hold to as what we loosely term 'civilized societies.' You know the ones I mean- do not steal, do not cheat, do not covet the things that don't belong to you. But that truth thing, it's the one that really sticks with you.
As we grow, and encounter the grey matter that makes up so much of life, we wonder about truth a lot. We wonder if it's better to varnish it a bit now and then to make a point, to dull it down so it doesn't come with too pointed an arrow that could wound someone. Sometimes we think it's better left unsaid, unspoken, untold because of the suffering it might cause - whether to ourselves, or to others.
The truth is, truth is often difficult to manage.
Some will say that's simply a cop out. If you don't tell the truth you have something to hide. Some will sit right down and share the debate because it's brain fun to wiggle out meaning on a topic this wiggly. But most will simply raise an eyebrow and judge you for even suggesting that telling the truth is not a simple case of true or false.
Here's a lesson I recently learned - the hard way. After years and years of sitting in silence with some fairly difficult pain and the truth of that pain in my life, I wrote a book. I struggled with telling a story that is not pretty, is not comfortable and is not easy to look at. But I focused on keeping the truth as plain as I could, and even set this story in a fictional framework to protect anyone who might see a resemblance to those who had a part in that pain, even if all they did was watch the story unfold.
But as these things often go, that wasn't enough. Soon after my story was published I received a brutal note from someone whom I'd hoped would read the story and find some compassion for my experience. For my truth. Instead they only found anger and disregard for what they read, as it wasn't their own experience. Their truth. And for that I was to be reviled. To be punished. To be discarded.
At the end of this rather confusing message which referred to an 'excerpt' of the book, but didn't call it out - after making it quite clear that I was of no use to them 'then or now', the writer ended this missive with a lovely phrase ; "Go in peace". Which translated, I believe,meant ;" Go away, because your truth is messing with my truth and I'm not having it."
In another time, this would have brought me to my knees and had me questioning every word I'd written. I might have apologized and begged forgiveness. But today, after a long journey to what I know matters - I simply recognized this for what it was. And what it was not. I have lived a life that no one else may judge, for no one else experienced it with me. It's my truth. And for that I need not, and will not apologize.
It's what we've been taught to do. No one tells us it could be hard, and it could hurt. But we know it's right. And we know what's true. So go ahead my loves - put aside your fears and write your story. Tell the truth. It will, as they say- set you free.