By now, for those of you living here, you know what my primary point of reference has become, and it is most definitely not the spoken word of others (because people lie); it is, more than ever, my instinct. Since last year, this has become heightened because I ignored my instinct and kept arguing my way out of my own body and heart’s push to run. Contrary to my dreams and intuition, I chose to instead keep trusting the wrong person.
Every single person – trained saboteur, professional liars, stewards, government employees, actors, etc. – every single one of us, we are liars, and we have our tells. If you pay close enough attention, you can learn a person’s tells. I did quite a bit of reading on this subject last year, and every piece I studied began with the same theory; at the core of being able to pick up on the tells, at the study of it, in organizations where this is a part of the work being done (such as spy agencies), there are some people who are far more intuitive and naturally inclined to seeing the tells. People who are extra vigilant about their surroundings, who pay extra attention to the behaviour of others; something which can not be quantified.
Here’s things: When we care about someone, we study them. We learn them, and we read them. Because I am such a sh/t liar, and because it takes a lot for me to in fact tell a lie, I can and have always known when someone was lying. Last year, the tells were standing sideways so that I could not see their full body. Turning their back when telling a lie. Shuffling papers randomly when lying. Turning red. Shoulders hunched. Hands in hair, quickened breaths, voice raised.
My tells? I eventually, panic-stricken and worried that God will smite me, usually blurt out ‘I AM LYING. SORRY! I’M SO SORRY! CAN WE START OVER?’ It’s my biggest f/cking problem, that I choose not to lie. I hate that this is how my mother raised me because people do not trade in honesty, but rather deception. And when one trades in any manner of open book, people get freaked out. So me, I have a problem and it is that I can not even pretend to lie. Oddly, it’s become my thing, even when it shouldn’t be – telling the f/cking truth. I think, maybe, also, this is the reason I am so in-tune to (non gender-specific) f/ckheads who lie. [PS None of the above is to be confused with Mean-Girling. I am an unmatched tops Mean-Girl (to those whom I do not really know, because I’m that much of an a/shole) and made myself a promise to last year cut this sh/t out because it is a grotesque behavior.]
Lesson #11: Pay attention to your piece, all across the board. In the early stages, in the middle, in the ether. Everyone will lie, and so the key is to distinguish between lies which people tell to spin of themselves a better PR machine in order to impress you (ie I am having a steak at Sparks in NYC vs I am eating a hot dog from the dude at Sixth & 8th) versus the great lies running deep deception (ie they are a rapist, a paedo, a cheater, married, a sociopath, a narcissist, a beater, a murderer etc.).
I would counsel that you have one or two friends whom you trust, and who are of a different temperament than you. If you are not 100% solid in yet trusting your own intuition, then ask the opinion of those who love you. If you are second guessing yourself then here’s an exercise: Sit down and write out your immediate instinctual response to a situation. In a column next to that, write out what you finally learned as the truth. Tally the number of times you got it wrong, Nob-Head. If you’re constantly getting it wrong, then you have some serious work to do. (How? I don’t know. Sadly, I don’t know everything….)
Lesson #12: Define your lines in concrete, not in the sand. Define your lines hard and adhere to them. Last year, my (best male) friend David said to me pointblank: “I have known you since University. Your standards have always been this high and over the last few months, I have watched you actively lower them, a lot. This is not a good sign, Maha, and you need to pay attention to what you’re doing to yourself so you don’t wake up incapable of getting it all back”. Smart one, he, and something which I took to heart. This year, I put this lesson to good use – I set my own line in concrete, and when the time came to action said line, I did, and I have not looked back. Purposefully, the pouring of this line was quite a ways out from the edge, in the interest of circumstance and environment, and so that I might never walk away saying “I didn’t give this enough of a chance”.
You know what I can now confirm? That it was the right move which saved me from years of grief and pain, something far easier to see when not buried in the land of dramatic love-problems.
Lesson #13: When Lessons 11 & 12 are in synergy and you have made the decision to walk away, then please…walk away. If you can manage it, I would even say run the f/ck away as hard as you possibly can. Basically, Get. Over. It.
Your life is too precious to waste. Unless you, or your loved one are sick; unless someone you know has died; unless you do not have access to clean water, to healthcare (hi ‘Merica!), to shelter, to safety, then you have no reason to wallow. You really don’t. Especially if you’re single and don’t wish to be – what you suddenly have is the luxury to meet someone new and go on a different adventure. This, I think, might be my favourite of all lessons. Get up, and move on without looking back. It may sound callous, but I’m not here to cuddle you (unless you’re 6’0 or above and smell nice…which, again, send me your résumé).
I have said this repeatedly, and will state it once again: Have three days of really ugly cry and mourning sessions. Get on Skype with your besties and let it rip. Wail, question the existence of God and why he would ever do this, eat pizza for breakfast and poutine for brunch. Get the self-pity completely and totally out of your system over the course of three days but then. Get. Over. It. Swear to God, no one is worth anything more. And don’t listen to the studies that tell us it takes 15 – 17 months to get over a “love” when all other studies tell us that over 90% of the emotional pain we feel is associated with our think patterns. Put in a different way: If you choose to believe the former as opposed to the later, then understand that your future track will be exercised very very differently than had you chosen otherwise. No one knows the value of both your time and your self better than you, so choose wisely.
Editorial Note: While I am writing about things of 2012, please do not confuse this with only now “getting over it” as Lesson #13 states. The “GOI” came very very quickly in 2012, but the talking about it – for purposes which I will not mention here, ever – could only happen now for very specific reasons beyond my control.