I Cannot Tell a Lie

Not Even A Small One

I cannot tell a lie. It’s not because I am a virtuous person like George Washington and the legend with the cherry tree. I have just recently come to the conclusion that I shouldn’t even bother trying to tell lies because the few times I have tried, there is something about my face or body language that the person I am seeking to lie to can instantly see through. For example, one night for dinner a few years ago, my mom wanted to try a new recipe where you slice a tomato, roll it in bread crumbs and I think it was olive oil, and then bake it. I was a little apprehensive when I saw how thickly the tomatoes were sliced, as I usually ate tomatoes raw and thinly sliced. But figuring there couldn’t be much difference, (tomatoes are tomatoes, right?) I tooke a big bite. Well, with the combination of the thick slice, and the cooking process that softened the tomato and perhaps brought out the flavor of the juice more, I was not prepared for the volume of juice that gushed out of that tomato when I bit in to it, and it was pungent! My mom had been so excited about this recipe, and I desperately wanted to be polite. “So what do you think?” Mom asked. I thought I had won the fight with my face, forcing it to smile when it instinctively wanted to scrunch as I said, “it’s good!” to which my parents both responded by laughing. “You don’t like it, do you?” Mom asked. The scrunch I thought I had successfully suppressed, they could still see. Nowadays, I love this recipe because we modified it, slicing the tomatoes a little thinner. On a more serious note, my inability to lie forces me to be open and honest on deeper subjects too. The last time I lied, the final lie that made me realize how futile lying is for me, was just a couple weeks ago. For a person who usually has a happy, positive outlook on life, I have been uncharacteristically blue this year, and one day a couple weeks ago, I had reached the end of my rope. First, we had been through a rough winter where I live, but I thought by the end of April, It should be warm and sunny, not still cold and rainy. I had accepted that I needed to go back to school because there just aren’t jobs in the field I originally studied. But the three hour class I had that day was extremely boring, and I was sick and tired of sitting through boring classes when all of my friends were getting exciting jobs. I had choir rehearsal that night, and choir usually cheers me up. I don’t know if it is because all of the songs we were doing were slow songs, most of which were in foreign languages, or if it was because there was that tense feeling singers always get the second to last rehearsal before a concert when they realize a couple songs are not polished to the degree they should have been by that point. But for whatever reason, the activity that usually cheered me up only drained me even more emotionally. In the car on the way home, my mom didn’t know what to say to cheer me up. I felt ashamed of what I needed to do next. Some would say such behavior is the self-absorbed behavior of someone who isn’t greatful for their many blessings. I didn’t want to come off that way, but I needed a good cry. So as soon as the car pulled in to the garage, I jumped out and headed for the bathroom, where I closed the door and let loose, taking care not to cry audibly of course. I flushed and washed my hands to make it sound like I had used the bathroom, thoroughly washed my face to make sure every last tear was out of my eyes, worked my face in to a small smile for good measure and opened the door. I thought the secret cry had been a success as nothing was said as I prepared a small snack. But after my snack was eaten and I headed back in to the kitchen for a drink of water, Mom said, “Stop a minute and let me see your face. Our eyes are red. What happened?” How could that be? I thought I had been so meticulous in composing myself. “They are? Huh. I don’t know why,” I said. “Do you think it could be allergies?” Mom asked. “Yeah, that is probably what it is. I do rub my eyes a lot,” I said. That is a believable lie, as I do rub my eyes a lot, I thought. “Were you crying?” she asked knowingly. “Yes,” I was forced to admit with a sigh of resignation. The funny thing is, once I admitted that I had been crying, the process of starting to feel better began. Mom assured me that there is no shame in crying, no matter how old you are. Everyone feels blue sometimes. Then Mom, Dad and I all had a wonderful heart-to-heart about how I was feeling. Mom said a prayer with me, and Dad reminded me of his own struggle to find a job after college as the economy was bad then too. When I expressed fear that all of this extra education I was sitting through would be for nothing anyway since I am blind and every job posting I have seen even in the new vocation I picked has some visual component, we talked about how while my disability may be more obvious, everyone has some kind of disability, even if it is something like having no aptitude for math. So it’s all about highlighting all of the many things you can do, and they pointed out all of the many things I was good at, many of which I had forgotten in my blues. We also talked about not comparing oneself to others as we were all on our own journey, something Mom and I had talked about in a class we took at our church, but whichI had forgotten about. All of this is to say that I went to bed feeling encouraged, renewed and more optimistic than I had felt in awhile, which would not have happened had I successfully covered my lie. As my parents like to say, “you can never play Poker, Allison.” Whether it is a funny situation or a serious one, the fact is my face and/or body language is just too transparent to pull off even small lies successfully, so big lies, and poker, are out of the question. But that is alright with me because even in these attempts to lie about small things, I have seen how open, and honest communication makes for a happier life.

Published by Allison Nastoff

As I write this in 2020, I am 30 years old. I am blind, and Gilbert was my first guide dog. He passed away on December 2, 2020, but I decided to keep the title for my blog as a tribute to him because he will always hold a special place in my heart. In 2012, I earned a Bachelor of Science in Communication with a journalism emphasis, and went back to school for a Paralegal certificate in 2014. I worked for five years at a Social Security disability firm. When the pandemic hit, I did some reflecting and decided to resign from this job and take seminary courses. My dream is a career as a teacher or writer where I can be a blessing to others.

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