Simone de Beauvoir

Sunday, June 13, 2010

The Truth is . . . Painful Yet Comfortable

“I tore myself away from the safe comfort of certainties through my love for truth - and truth rewarded me.” ~ Simone de Beauvoir

Growing up, I'd been told things about people, family members and those I'd never met; a celebrity, too, and these little facts became personal connections for me.  Links to another human being that made me feel unique.  Special.  They basically assured me, in their own way, that my idiosyncracies were "quirks" and their combination made me "character".  They validated me.  No, they vindicated me.

Ironically, I now know that two of these tidbits are fallacies.  My first discovery rocked my world.  I doubted so much of what I'd been told.  Was anything true?  My mind raced.  If that was a lie, what else was?  Why lie about such a thing?  In the scheme of things, it really isn't important.

Another fabrication was discovered earlier today when I read an email.  After some whirling thoughts, I settled my mind with the question "how important is it" and reflected awhile.  I've realized that it's not so much what was lied about but why the lie was told that has me angry. 

When these two items were "the truth", they were part of my identity, as I'd said before.  One gave me a connection to a celebrity (Patricia Neal).  It is a mere two "degrees of separation" between Ms. Neal and myself.  The connection inspired me to read her book, As I Am, and after doing so, I developed a tremendous respect for the woman.  I'm fairly certain Simone would have loved Ms. Neal, too, had they met.  Her faith in God and her tenacity to recover from a debilitating stroke encouraged me to work harder on my writing.  Afterall, Neal had a stroke; I had "Writer's Block". 

The connection has to do with her son, Theo, and myself.  As infants we were patients of the same world-reknown neurosurgeon, Dr. Joseph Ransahoff.  He save my life and that of Theo.  I'd spoken to Dr. Ransahoff a number of years ago and found him to be reassuring, kind, and very knowledgeable.  I'm forever greatful to Dr. Ransahoff and told him so during our conversation.  He died in 2001. 

While reading As I Am, I learned more about Theo's accident and uncovered the first untruth.  Basically, the story is that Dr. Ransahoff was given credit for doing something that someone else did.  The story circulated within my little world, so it was of no significance to any one else.

As I said before, the second lie came about earlier today, after reading an email.  Again, it's not the lie, it's the reason behind it that bothered me.  Why lie?  What was wrong with the truth?  What else is a lie?

So, it saddens me to think that the credibility of one person is just about shot.  What's that expression--once it's a fluke, twice it's a pattern, three times and it's a behavior?  I am grateful for the truth, somewhat embarrassed to have shared the lies--half truths--with others.  I console myself with the fact that I was unaware of the incorrect information. 

Ironically, as a child of about five or six, I'd learned an expression from my cousin Laura:  "Do you have the audacity to doubt my veracity or even insinuate that I might prevaricate?"  Apparently, at this point, I do have audacity to doubt someone's veracity. 

I have found myself, yet again, facing a truth. A difficult truth as it isn't harsh per se, but it rocked all that I once knew. Two truths were, in fact, lies. Someone lied. Two untruths make one a liar. Interesting math.  The truth has rewarded me.  No, it wasn't comfortable learning these truths, but, having learned them, I am more comfortable with who I really am and not who I thought I was. 

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