Tag Archives: lying

When love goes awry…


“And you know what? To protect my kids, I’d lie, too. I’d lie on a stack of Bibles.”

Read more: http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2013/02/11/130211fa_fact_keefe#ixzz2K2jZqwHp

This story is about a woman who murdered all of her colleagues, supposedly over tenure at a university. And about the “accident” years earlier, where she shot her brother, killing him.

It’s a fascinating story, terrifying in its implications, sad in the lack of help for someone who could surely have used it. And worrying for the children of such a set of parents.

But the quote I selected above is the scariest of all. What’s happened here?

Back in the time of responsibility, parents were the ones who took their children to the shopkeeper and made them return what they had stolen. I remember once having done something mean to a friend and my mother MADE me go and apologize. I had to walk the mile there and back, squirming in embarrassment, upset that I had to take the blame for what had been a joint girlfriend attack. But I never bullied again. (Well, until I got into management, and then it was only incompetence that drove me).

My parents made me wear my decisions, and I think I’m better for it.

Now, I’ve covered for my kids at times, but I would never cover for such a thing. Even when they were in school and their teachers would call me to wail about how my kids weren’t doing this or that assignment, I’d tell them – so FAIL them! I’m cool with that, I said. They have to learn consequences. The teachers never did, saying that the final result on the assignment was too good for them to be able to fail them. Unacceptable. How was I supposed to hold the kids accountable when their teachers wouldn’t?

In the real world, when you f*** up, you pay. You get a ticket, you lose your job, you go broke or bankrupt, you lose a friend or a lover. I find it appalling that now people seem to think that it is totally inappropriate to subject kids to consequences, leaving them unprepared to deal with life.

ImageAnd with a flexible sense of the truth.

I adore my kids. I’d walk over burning coals to support them, even the ungrateful one who still won’t speak to me. (Well, maybe not that one. I’m fed up.) But I wouldn’t lie for them.

I know they have their faults, as do I. But I expect to be held accountable for my faults, as they should.

Would I lie if they were threatened with a jail sentence, if they committed a crime? My heart would break, but I wouldn’t. We live as a part of society, and as parts of society, we’re expected to play at least close to the rules.

I hope never to have to deal with this, and my heart goes out to any parent who has to try to understand a monstrous child. I know I blame myself for my kids’ every fault already, so I can imagine how they must feel. But surely, lying for your kid, letting them off the hook, allowing them to turn into more horrific and self-centred creatures isn’t love.

Feeling a fraud…


I’ve been talking with my galpals about this creeping sense of fear we all experienced at one point or another. It’s that feeling that you are merely playacting in your role, that sooner or later you are going to be caught out and proven to be completely inadequate.

The funny thing is that it happens so often that, really, we should be able to tolerate it. But it still seems a terribly frightening thing.

When I worked as a nurse, I lived in horrible fear I’d make a stupid mistake and it would be revealed that I really hadn’t done all that well in nursing school – in fact, struggled through until we got to the policy things, where I was able to cope. Sure enough, I did, I was, and eventually I moved into health policy positions.

Where I worried that I’d been promoted prematurely into management, that I was only faking competence, that sooner or later I’d blow it and I’d be caught and tossed out on my ear. Well, it was a near thing but my MS attacked before I could actually be tossed and so I was able to creep out before the tarring and feathering as my fraud was detected. (not real fraud, I hasten to add. I am nothing if not honest. Sometimes painfully so).

So now I try to write, and people tell me I can write well, but I know I’m just faking it, as I do with so many things, just faking it until someone catches me and says “Fraud! Fraud!”

And now I help with all sorts of projects, offering my expertise, but feeling as if I am playacting there as well. I am still gobsmacked that anyone would appreciate my advice, that they are not merely putting up with me so I will go away and they can talk about me behind my back. I find it hard to believe I have anything of importance to offer. And yet I keep putting myself out there, so there must be some part of me that feels I do.

Perhaps it’s paranoia, perhaps I need treatment, but I suspect there are a lot of us out there that feel the same way.

My excellent mother told us we were special, that we could do anything we wanted, that generally we could rule the world. As we went out and found that perhaps there was a teensy bit of maternal exaggeration in these statements, I think I developed this inner shadow that told me that no, we weren’t all that and a bag of chips. In fact, we weren’t even that bag of chips. The undercurrent of how we weren’t all that special after all plays in my head. Fortunately we banged into reality often in our early years and got some of the “you’re special” banged off of us before it really counted.

I can’t help but wonder about this generation of kids, who are told everyone is so special, who aren’t allowed to fail in school, who are given prizes for even showing up. How are they going to feel when they are being tested in the real world? Will they be stronger for all the lies they were told, or weaker? Or will they be tempted to brace up their feelings of superiority with real fraud?

Ah well, maybe it will all work out and they will be cheerfully, healthily competent.  Or at least much better at fraud!

Oh, Lance, Lance…


Way back when I was still married, my young son spent an entire summer getting up at before dawn hours to drag his comforter into the den and curl up and watch the Tour de France. He watched every stage, knew about all the riders, the speed challenges, the mountain climbing. He was so inspired, whether by the athleticism of the riders or the endless ads for exercise machines on the channel, that he wanted to try bike racing. We looked into bikes, I’m sure he dreamt of biking across very pointy peaks and sloping valleys.

Lance Armstrong seemed untouchable, the all-clean American guy with the lantern jaw and a fierce training regimen that allowed him to win. He even had a Harlequin Romance name, one deserving of heroism. He created the Livestrong movement , putting his name on cancer survivors everywhere, yellow bands that expanded to other colour bands and filled the world with arm decorations that will never biodegrade (I like the 7 Deadly Sins ones, myself).

Well, my son and I both older and more cynical now and I hold Lance partly responsible for that. He was so loud about his claims not to have doped, so out there about how he had triumphed over cancer to win that it makes his fall from grace endlessly painful. Demotivating, depressing, destroying. Have we NO heroes anymore? Can no one be an example to others – do we ALL have to cheat to survive and thrive? Surely not, I wail. Is the foundation even real? Or is it a lie, too?

My son wrote a graphic novel about Lance, way back when he was in grade nine. Even then he suspected something amiss. He invested Lance with a bionic testicle. It’s brilliant, as is his take on David Suzuki, a probably honest to goodness hero, but tainted by the same cynicism that all the world gets, unfortunately.It’s called The Wholesome Adventures of Tall Tall Stuart, and he created it all, with his friends, in Word, a tedious experience that showed me that he could really apply himself, provided it led to a cynical attack on someone he was angry about.

Still, today, as more news about Lance filled the airwaves, I couldn’t help but feel grief. For the guy who thought he had to do this fraud to make himself worthwhile. For all the doping athletes who can’t imagine they could be ever good enough to compete without help. For the coaches and their grasping manipulative ways. For all the cancer patients who looked to Lance as a shining example of succeeding despite adversity. And particularly for the kids, everywhere, who look up to sports heroes only to have their hearts trampled when it turns out they’ve doped or gone on strike for more obscene amounts of money, or been selfish, insufficient, and liars liars liars.

Is it so hard to tell the truth?

Even fiction writers do it.

But maybe, this lie does tell a truth. I just don’t want to hear it. It breaks my heart.