"The truth?! You can't handle the truth!"
Everyone and everyone's Mama has probably used this term at some point in their life. It's more than cliche. In fact, it's bordering on annoying as hell. But for a lot of people, it's still, well, the truth.
Recently, I've been evaluating the truth. I've been pondering on the politics of it all. When it's ok to reveal it. When it's not. How sometimes it's strategically placed and other times not so much. How sometimes it hurts like hell, and sometimes it's a burst of relief. The truth is so complicated and so... contradictory.
Nonetheless, I think I've come to the realization that for me, it's essential.
This week, things came to a very heated head between me and my ex-girlfriend. We've had a relationship that can only be described as tumultuous, off and on for the last almost 3 years that ended for good about a month ago. This week, out of the blue, she writes me about how angry she is. She was my first girlfriend and at one point I loved her very much. Now, I think I'm at or either rapidly approaching the point of ambivalence. To put it bluntly, I just don't give a fuck. So when she told me how she felt, I was quite honest in a very delicate, very cordial, very truthful kind of way.
The truth did not go over very well.
So after several increasingly heated exchanges via Facebook (don't ya just love it?!) I decided to just stop responding. I'm done.
So, do I regret telling her the truth? Nope. Am I sorry that it was hard for her to take? A wee bit (though after some of her more colorful responses I'm more sorry that her mental health was threatened by my truth and less sorry for the actual truth). Quite honestly, it felt good to get that off my chest. In fact, it had me wondering why I waited so long to let it out in the first place.
Which brings me to my point: the truth is that truth, if you know what I mean. I refuse to walk in lies anymore. Because that's what it is when you're not putting it out there. I'm not bringing that negativity to myself, to preserve and perpetuate someone else's fear of the truth. If you're asking me to do that, then are you really looking out for me?
I've been thinking about this a lot in terms of friendship. A friend of mine says that Black women often use the truth as a weapon. I don't agree. First of all, I think it's another way to villainize Black women and second of all, I think it's total bullshit. Who said that the truth would ever be easy? I question how one can really be a friend if they can't be honest with the people they love?
I have learned my lesson. With my ex, I should've been honest with her a long, long time ago. Holding all that in was detrimental to our relationship (if the relationship wasn't already detrimental enough) and detrimental to myself. I believe that when you hold the truth in, you let lies out. And lying is dangerous to the soul. I know I often quote India.Arie, but in the song "Get It Together" she says, "Now your chest burns and you back aches, from 15 years of holding the pain..." I refuse to let that happen to me.
In the case of my ex, holding in lies prohibited me from growing because everytime we got back together, I was forced to hold to keep up the charade. Keep pretending that this was working, that I was happy, that this girl she was falling in love with was really me. That stuff is crazy making, if you ask me.
So, I'm saying it now, I refuse to be dishonest with those that I love. Refuse. I will never be the person to smile in my friends face as if the shit piling up around us is not there. Refuse. I refuse to look the other way when it's obvious someone I love is hurting. Refuse. And I refuse not to address the truth because it might make someone uncomfortable. Refuse. I can't control what you do with it, but I can control what I do with it. And I can help deal with the aftermath.
And really, all I ask is the same in return.