“Nowhere do our injuries seem more casually self-inflicted, or the suffering we create more disproportionate to the needs of the moment, than in the lies we tell other human beings. Lying is the royal road to chaos.” - Sam Harris, Lying
I'm sitting here looking at the bruised, scarred skin of my arm with wounds held together by sixteen staples. My moral foundation tells me it's always wrong to lie, so why do I find it impossible to be honest about this?
I called 911 yesterday to report my own suicide. I told the operator the front door was open and I would be in the bathroom. The smallest blades slip easily between the molecules that make up my flesh and separate it quickly. The sharpest blades cut with no pain.
I sat frozen and bleeding when I heard the police officers yelling my name as they wandered through the house. I was dissociated and saw the scene play out as though from a camera on the ceiling. I watched from my fractured consciousness as the officer yelled for me to show him my hands and approached my catatonic body.
His hands were trembling so badly that I was surprised he was even able to lift my head and check my pulse. He was expecting to find my dead body. And I was expecting that, too. Instead, light still traveled through my fixed and dilated pupils into my visual cortex as disappointment saturated my mind like the blood soaking into my jeans.
The next half hour was a blur of cops and medical professionals slowly coaxing me out of my state of severe psychological destabilization. As soon as my consciousness reintegrated itself as to let me speak in complete sentences, the lies began.
No, I'm not suicidal. Look at my scars, I'm obviously used to deep self harm. If I was trying to kill myself, would I have called 911 first? If I wanted to die, I'd have gone for the neck.
Yes, my urge to mutilate myself has been satisfied and I'll be safe at home.
Yes, I know people love me.
No, I don't want to die.
These lies come as naturally to me as breathing. This is the only area of my life where I am not brutally honest, no matter the cost.
I am the friend who will tell you your hair looks bad in a ponytail or that those jeans make you look fat. I am the one who can admit my faults and recognize my strengths.
I'm the friend who will tell you that you're right and life can seem pointless. And I'm the friend who will give you a vast list of reasons to live that aren't laced with false hope.
You'll always get honesty from me until you ask about how I'm doing.
I won't tell you I wanna die. I won't tell you that I'm actually bleeding right now. And I won't tell you how much I love tracing this road map of scars with my fingertips while fantasizing about draining my entire blood volume.
Instead, I'll listen to the fight you had with your boyfriend and I'll be there for you when you're having a panic attack.
You'd never know how close I am to death. And I know I'm not the only one.
Why is it so easy to abandon our commitment to absolute honesty in situations when it would benefit us the most?