Honesty and Authenticity
One thing I’ve struggled with all my life is the truth. Telling it, living with it, accepting it. The truth is a scary thing, because it lays us bare to the world, exposes our good and bad for all to see.
When I went out on the Trail I had few rules – but without a doubt the biggest was “tell the truth to everyone.”
That seems like a simple thing doesn’t it? Telling the truth?
Not so simple when you’ve grown up in a family that plays “information wars” with every scrap and piece of information. Where you act as the go between for divorced parents, and have family that gaslight you, forcing you to constantly question your sanity. Not necessarily the healthiest place to grow up in – but grow up I did, and unfortunately I carried parts of that into adulthood.
I wouldn’t ever say I was pathological when it came to lies, but I most certainly used them when it was more convenient than the truth, easier to say then to explain the whole wide range of things involved. So when I left for the Trail I made a promise to myself.
The whole unvarnished truth, for all to see and hear.
I did a fair job of it my first hike – I caught myself more than a few times slipping into bad habits but on the whole I kept it together. So when I went out the second time I made the same vow. I kept it too for a far larger portion than I thought possible. It was a big achievement for myself, telling the truth.
It had some unintended results though. People got to know me in ways I never expected, and several people got to know some secrets I don’t think I ever meant to let out. One person in particular learned everything about me.
When you mix honesty and love together you get interesting results. There wasn’t a thing I held back when asked, every single moment was given freely, though at times with trepidation; because who wants to be rejected for the things they have done, for the way they feel and act?
Maybe that’s why this breakup and betrayal hurt so bad at the end. Because I had opened up to someone I held close, and when they hurt me they knew everything. If she was a person bent on evil, those things she knows could destroy me in the most soul crushing ways – because being hurt by those you love truly does cut you down cruelly.
All of that aside though, I maintain the same vow now, on here as I did on the trail.
All that passes from my lips in the truth, as far as I can see it from my perspective. I won’t lie to you, I won’t evade and try and paint it in a better light. Explanation will be the facts and the feelings, as close to the real authentic moment as I can. I won’t be perfect with it, it’s impossible I think, but I’ll get as damn close as I can.
I owe it to you and I owe it to myself.