I wanted to be the kind of Mother I imagined my grandmother was with her small children, I couldn’t even be the kind of Mother that my mother was, and while she wasn’t the gold standard (that would be Mam-maw) she was a far sight better than I could ever be. That’s not modesty, or false humility, just clean, unvarnished truth. I’m reading a book by Elizabeth Berg in which she espouses truth, freedom and breaking old habits, letting go of the past, letting go of the hindrances you created for yourself.
One of her characters wants the people in her life to tell the truth no matter how much it hurts someone. I come to a conclusion that the lies I tell aren’t necessarily to protect anyone from hurt, other than myself! White lies, we used to call them, niceties, those things you do to avoid hurting someone’s feelings. Cowardice, really. I think there must be a way to tell the truth without judgment or rancor. I plan to try it. I wonder how it would be to only speak the truth and only hear the truth. Could we bear it?
Emily Dickinson said, “tell all the truth, but tell it slant, success in circuit lies.” Truth was too bright for us, she indicated, if it didn’t dazzle us slowly, it would blind us. Like seeing God, I guess. I’ve made a masterpiece of telling the truth so distorted that it was more of a mountain than a slant, almost vertical. Most of the people in my life have done the same. Or if they didn’t, I quickly rooted them out.