I had a friend growing up who was a compulsive liar. I knew her from about age six to age 14. Everything out of this girl’s mouth was questionable, so much so that when she told me about the mechanics of sex (one of the only things she was honest about, having witnessed it first hand in her mother’s bed, I later discovered), I didn’t believe her. I almost believed her when she told me there were flying, magical My Little Pony unicorns living in the hedge at the end of my street. I was suspicious when she told me it would be quite acceptable to steal some cool pink rubber stamps from the newsagent. I held the ones she and another girl stole while they went on the swings to celebrate their thievery. She forgot I had them in my pocket and I kept them. But I told my mum what she’d done and that I’d refused. My mum later told me that when she confronted this girl’s mum to tell her about the awful thing her daughter had done, she just laughed. She then proceeded to boast about all the ‘free’ furniture and whitegoods she’d acquired by being sneaky, lying and generally manipulating anyone expecting payment. She lied too, and stole, and was proud of it.
I recently spent a lovely weekend at a close friend’s and we got to talking in depth about my issues. She was obviously curious about it all as we’ve talked before about my general unhappiness with my weight and my inability to eat consistently well. She’s a very intelligent woman and we’ve known each other for about 22 years so there isn’t much we can’t discuss. We chatted about making choices to eat badly and I reiterated that my bad eating habits have almost nothing to do with meals or appetite. She was suggesting ways of choosing healthier options but I explained that even if I ate healthy meals, which I do, more or less, I’d still eat crap because it has nothing to do with satisfying that physical hunger and the urge to eat crap doesn’t go away with my physical hunger. It certainly makes it less intense though.
Eventually she came to a conclusion I came to years ago: find something you’re passionate about and apply your drive to eat crap to that activity instead. I then had to explain the depressing reality that there isn’t anything in this universe more compelling for me than the urge to eat crap. She reeled off various things but no, none of them are better than or could replace the food. Even writing, the one thing I’ve known matches me for so long.
We didn’t get to wrap up the conversation properly because the Dude woke for the fourth time and I went in to get him back to sleep and she’d gone to bed when I came out again. Secretly, I was glad our discussion was cut short. It was hard for me to discuss, upsetting, confronting, and it’s been playing on my mind ever since. I didn’t lie to her about how badly I eat, but I deliberately avoided being explicit about just how much rubbish I do consume. This is a person who has probably never eaten McDonalds in her life, so it’s pretty difficult to admit that I sometimes eat it a number of times in a week. It’s not that I feel inferior because I like shit food, it’s more that I respect her ideas about health and agree with her, so I’m admitting to terrible hypocrisy when I reveal my food choices. It’s shameful as well because I think McDonalds is one of the worst organisations in the world, the way they manipulate children especially is disgusting.
But this is where I am now. I lie. I lie to cover my serious addictive and self-destructive behaviour. Why? Because deep down I feel as if it will never go away. And deeper still, I’m afraid to let it go. Who or what will I be without it?
My lies, to my loved ones and to myself, are worse than any petty thievery or skipping out on credit card debts. I am deceitful, the worst kind of lie. This disorder, for want of a better word, has such a hold on me. It’s like an evil cloud is hanging heavily above me, following me around, stopping me from seeing the light above.
I am like my grandmother. I was angry at her for her lies and indulgence in bad habits. But I am just like her. If I continue like this, I will end up spending 20 hours a day in my room, a wardrobe full of junk food, a stack of library books, a heavy body and everything I say will involve some sort of lie. People will tiptoe around me, wondering when I’ll next explode, agreeing with my lies, and feeling relieved when they can get away from me. It’ll just be me and the cloud.
As my mum would say: “Up with this I will not put!” But where to from here? I refuse to do what I’ve always done, get all motivated, vow to make a change, plan what I’ll do, write a list, tell Mr Chewbacca that this is it… And then fall back into bad habits within 24 hours. I need to make a big psychological shift but as to how I do that, I have no idea.