Rendered Fat Content


Jean-Baptiste Oudry: Ragotin lie par les parents du fou (1727)
"I feel as though I’ve just come home after an overly-extended absence."

I suspect that everyone knows the experience of living a lie. For me, a deep longing accompanies these times as I watch others apparently living their truths seem so damned free. Unencumbered by any haunting sense that someone's going to catch on to them, they seem untroubled even when engaging with difficulties, while I carry considerably more overhead. The lie's like a colicky baby, always fussy and rarely at rest, demanding that I attend to it. I nurture it because I simply must. It eats half my lunch and the world seems cruel and unjust. I render myself a second- or third-class citizen, relegated to entering and exiting like a sneak thief always attempting to get away with something that rightfully belongs to someone else. I, myself, feel like I'm someone else beside myself.

Liberation might come but only ever at the price of doing an utterly unthinkable, something more likely, it seems, to do me in rather than resolve anything.
That lie maintains a life all its own, but utterly dependent upon me mortgaging some of what I used to own to support it. We become each other’s dependent. I would if I could but I can’t just leave that lie behind me. It blinds me to alternate possibilities. I become its willing slave. We become symbiotic, feeding while feeding on each other. He ain’t heavy, he’s my other, the utterly authentic alternate me. He might become all I really possess while he possesses me.

The time after a lie evaporates seems the most utterly liberated one. I swear I weight a hundred pounds less and few of my recent encumbrances remain. I might walk right through walls. My britches fit again. My shoes start working and I’m moving through the general population as if I might actually belong. I’ve stopped slinking. That suspicion which had shaded my every observation seems curiously absent. I catch myself trusting myself, a distinctly odd sensation. I sense that I might have become like one of those I so longingly supposed I would never become. I feel at one again, a curiously collective sensation, not just me then, but an us instead.

The long, deep waking nightmare seems to be receding this morning. I never agreed to that experience, that long lived lie. He was, after everything, my legally elected President, too, though, probably just like you, he seemed so illegitimate. He never even once rose to his station, but played with his obligations and sacred responsibilities as if hosting a cruel game show. Little he ever said seemed real but only because it wasn’t, though many came to worship every word me uttered. Not me and probably not you, either, but we were still living a lie, trying to maintain some semblance of a life without the underlying truth overwhelming us. It came to overwhelm us, anyway. Then yesterday, an old politician declared a different mission. He swore to level with us, to treat us as if we could handle the truth, as if we are the adults we are and to set aside his predecessor's childish ways. He said that he thought we could push through this if we could stick together.

The prospect of a period of Lielessness leaves me uncommonly hopeful. Not simply hopeful for me, but finally hopeful for the rest of us. I hate admitting it, but the lying deeply affected me. They weren’t my lies but they infected my life. I came to fein respect and hold my fellows in ever deepening suspicion, too. I squelched my own truths, concerned that another might take offense. I learned to hide my light as if my truth might not compete well enough. I might have had nothing to fear but fear itself but I felt just as afraid as I might have felt had I faced real dangers. Once he left, that liar in chief, a silent stillness replaced him. Clouds parted and previously unlikely possibilities emerged. I’m living Lielessness this morning and I feel as though I’ve just come home after an overly-extended absence.

©2021 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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