Is It Lying When You Don’t Tell the Truth?

I’m not sure what just happened except that I’m pretty sure it makes me a big fat liar.

I want to say for the record that I did not speak an untruth and I will stand by all of my statements.

But my silence was a lie.

I had been looking forward to the Listen To Your Mother show for months. Some of Austin’s best writers would be reading pieces about being a Mom. I love Austin and writers and Moms and I would have paid $100 and/or driven to Dallas to see the show. I might have even moved to Dallas. I really wanted to see the show.

So, when I arrived at 3:00 and saw some writer friends talking outside the auditorium, I joined them and I was happy to be there.

Then I got a funny sense that something wasn’t right.

Then I noticed that people were coming out of the auditorium, instead of going in.

Then someone said, “Kristin Armstrong had the funniest line, about the thunder roll of the teenage eyeballs.”

Oh, no.

I missed the show.

I don’t understand what I did next. All I can say is, do you know how you have all sorts of little people inside your head? The strong, confident, beautiful grown up and the confused teenager and the scared little kid, and each one of them can come out at different times?

I have a little girl inside my head.

She is in the 5th grade.

She is terrified of people.

She has recently became aware of all that she isn’t.

She took over the situation.

Because, I had been talking for so long and I hadn’t mentioned that I missed the show and it would be strange to bring it up now.

But, someone could ask me, “Which reading was your favorite?” and what would I say?

OK, wait a minute. I didn’t wet my pants or show up naked. I didn’t steal something or heckle the MC. I remembered the time of the show wrong. So what?

But the little girl in me was too embarrassed. I didn’t say anything. I was lucky, no one asked me a question about the show. When someone would comment on a reading I stayed quiet.

In the car on the way home, I was even more embarrassed for not saying something. I’m not in the 5th grade anymore, right?

I had some time away from the kids, since I was supposed to be at a show and all, so I stopped at a coffee shop to think about it.

My first clue was that I had a history with Listen To Your Mother. I had auditioned for the show. Here are a few things that went wrong with my audition:

  • I did a performance instead of a reading. I got Listen To Your Mother confused with The Maternal Instincts Project, since I got auditions for each at about the same time. Well, now I know that Listen To Your Mother is readings of writing pieces, not a theater-style performance.
  • I’m not a good performer.
  • I spent so much time learning the performance that my writing was sloppy, which was unfortunate, since Listen To Your Mother is all about the writing.

So, I was feeling a little dorky already.

My second clue was that just about all the writers I admire were there, including my biggest blog crushes, and it isn’t fun to look like a dork in front of people you admire.

But none of that explains it really. so I thought some more, until I discovered the third and most important clue.

I want to be a writer.

I want to be able to put ideas and feelings into words in a way that touches someone else.

That space, where it is so important to me, not in a practical way, but in a deep-heart-and-soul kind of way, that is a vulnerable space.

Sometimes it makes me feel like I’m back in the 5th grade.

Since I like to have the grown up inside my head be in charge more of the time, I have to come clean. I didn’t see the show.

I’m going to feel like a grown up writer one day, one that is more confident than she is vulnerable. That is enough for now, to know that I’ll get there one day.

And that is the truth.


24 Responses

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  1. I think a lot of us feel like that, at least occasionally, and some of us so often that it’s scary. It doesn’t matter how often I succeed or get praised, I always feel like I’m about to fall into a pit of my own suckiness and that everyone will see and mock me, just like in school.

    I think we’ve all also had that embarrassing situation now and then when we’ve screwed up and it’s not really a big deal to others but it is to us, and we back ourselves into guilty corners, not knowing when to ‘fess up and when to sidestep. If it’s lying to not admit to something that doesn’t really impact others, then we’re all guilty of it, and it’s certainly not on par with vicious lies.

    Chances are, you’re feeling much crappier about this than anyone else has even contemplated relative to the situation, and if your friend told you a similar story you likely wouldn’t see anything wrong about them for it.

    I don’t know you, but I see nothing wrong about you for any of it. Hope that helps in some small measure.
    Kimberly Chapman recently posted..Breaded Parsnips

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    Carol Reply:

    Kimberly,

    Thanks for your supporting words. Now that I have had a good night’s sleep, I’m trying to find it more funny than embarrassing. It is both, but I like funny better.

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  2. This is a beautiful post Carol. You ARE a writer.

    And it was great seeing you.
    Stefani recently posted..Mothering Daughters

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    Carol Reply:

    Thanks, Stefani!

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  3. Carol, you weren’t the only one who missed the time….. we were waiting for another friend to show up and were kind of worried. We ended up getting in touch with her after the show and she had it down for 8:00pm!

    I think these mommy brains NEVER go away, especially since we always have to juggle so many things and people at once making it easy to have moments like the one you had yesterday. But there is always next year to look forward to! We should have hourly reminders that go out the starting the day before the event….

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    Carol Reply:

    Yeah, that is right. There were about ten other events that day, for all five of us.

    Yes, I’ll be there next year for sure!

    Carol

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  4. Shanda

    Carol, you ARE a writer. Your stuff is thoughtful, well organized, insightful and fun/ny. Oh, and you’re articulate. And you use good grammar.

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    Carol Reply:

    Thank you, Shanda! I have to work at the grammar part. And the seplling.

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  5. Oh Carol – I would have never guessed when I saw you yesterday (judging by your cool composure and friendly conversation) that you’d missed the show or even that you were embarrassed! But what a lovely and honest and heartwarming confession.

    I completely emphasize with your feelings about writing. Of course it s get recognized by some outside entity as a “capital W” Writer. Sometimes it seems like we need external validation to feel like we’ve earned that title. But in my opinion, you write, so you are a writer. And a good one at that.

    So good to see you yesterday and reconnect.

    Happy may!
    Carlotta recently posted..It’s Instrumental

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    Carol Reply:

    You are right about the “capital W” idea. I want some external validation from an official source that has the authority to determine who the real writers are. Hmmm, maybe I shouldn’t need that so much.

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  6. Jenna

    I believe that writing things down is the single most courageous people do.

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    Carol Reply:

    It did feel strange at first, to write it down. Then it felt even stranger to hit the Publish button. But it was a good kind of strange.

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  7. Gosh, I was so happy to see you, looking so lovely as you did, I didn’t even notice you were uncomfortable. In addition to being an awesome writer, you are a convincing actress as well! Next time your 5th grade self takes over, you just remind her that she is most likely in the company of other dorks, hiding in grown-up bodies. I know that was the case yesterday when you were talking to me!

    I’m sorry you missed the show. I can’t wait to see you read in it next year.

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    Carol Reply:

    Ah, thanks Heidi!

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  8. Jenna

    *thing*

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  9. Kellena

    Today I took my kids to Amy’s for some ice cream only to get to the cash register and have the cashier point to the sign that says that they don’t take credit cards. He then pointed out the other signs that I should have noticed along the way, clearly stating the same thing. During my explanation of why I didn’t have any cash or checks on me, I noticed that he couldn’t help staring at the huge pimple on my forehead that really could pass for a third eye. Their line was huge, because Amy’s line is always huge, so he finally motioned toward their ATM machine and told me that we can all go and enjoy our ice cream as long as I pony up the cash before I leave.

    My children dove into their ice cream which meant that I finally had a chatter free moment, just long enough to realize that I couldn’t remember my PIN. The same PIN that I’ve had for years. Gone from my head. As much as I tried to conjure it up, I couldn’t. I waited until the cashier was super busy and tried a couple of PINs at the machine, hoping that he wouldn’t notice me failing at each.

    I finally had to inform my kids that I had no way of paying for their ice cream and that I didn’t really know what to do next. This confession alone made me feel like a completely unfit mother. I had my son run to the car and scour it for change. He came back with 50 cents. After trying a few more PINs and failing, I finally had to go up to the cashier, pimple and all, and explain that I could only give him $2.56 in change. I’m still surprised at the amount of humiliation that I felt. He took one last look at my huge pimple, gave me a look of pity (or at least, that’s how I perceived it), and told me that the ice cream was on him. I showered him with several thank yous and he waved me off, like I was a pan handler that had reacted with too much gratitude.

    It is amazing how much I have beat myself up this evening for being “too spacey.” Heck, my kids thought that the situation was funny. There was a moment when we thought we were going to have to wash Amy’s dishes and I could tell that my son was having a ball wondering aloud what was going to happen next, like he was on an adventure. Nevertheless, none of us like to admit that sometimes we don’t have it all together. It’s embarrassing.

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    Blue Eyes Reply:

    Kellena,
    You’re funny.
    Love, Sean

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    Carol Reply:

    Oh, no! Ice cream is supposed to be fun! Thank you for sharing your story!

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  10. Oh Carol! I’m so sorry to hear of your unfortunate Saturday. Don’t be too hard on yourself. I was 40 minutes late to my kid’s school Valentine’s Day party because I had the time wrong in my head – and I was in CHARGE of it.

    It happens to all of us. It sounds like it was a blessing in disguise for you, too. 🙂
    gigi recently posted..Bling For Mother’s Day

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    Carol Reply:

    Thanks for the comment! There are so many times for so many things that we do, some times I’m amazed it works at all.

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  11. The other day I was accidentally seated with the wrong party at a restaurant and it took me 20 minutes to say something. That’s 20 minutes of laughing and clapping along for someone’s going away celebration when I absolutely DID NOT belong there. It was ridiculous.

    We all have our moments, sweetie.

    I’m just glad you showed up at all!

    On the writing thing — a wonderful, very successful blogger/writer once gave me this advice: Fake it till you make it. Nobody knows how little you know except YOU. I’ve been following that advice for a while now and I’ve seen nothing but good things come from it. Pretend to be confident and the confidence comes. Believe in yourself and other people will, too. Cheesy, but totally, totally true.

    XOXO

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    Carol Reply:

    Oh, my, that is a great story! That should be on a sitcom one day.

    I like the advice. I need to remember that more.

    Thanks for the note!

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  12. I have absolutely done things like that this baffled me even as I was doing it. It’s our brains trying to get one step ahead of our shaky-at-the-moment emotionflood, I think. What great insights you pulled out of it.

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    Carol Reply:

    Thanks for the comment. It is strange how I can see myself do it, in slow motion of some kind.

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