Black Women's Empowerment

The Power of Telling the Truth

Originally published September 2019

I come across a lot of stuff on my timeline, IG and Twitter feed every day. Most of it is rubbish. About 2% is profound. The rest is, well, lies.

I have a woman on my Facebook list who has become proficient in being dishonest about her life because she is trying to look good for another group of women. She has constructed this fantasy life complete with giving herself a whimsical nickname to suggest that she lives a life she doesn’t live. Some like her statuses, I imagine, out of kindness. Others laugh behind her back. I’m beginning to pity her. I don’t so much pity the fact that she feels the need to lie (to kick it). I pity her because I know the reason for the lies.

During my separation and throughout the divorce process, one of the things that I rediscovered the importance of is the truth. The pure, unadulterated, unpretty truth. The truth about anything, anybody, and any situation. Similar to the woman on my Facebook list, it was me lying to myself that kept me in an emotionally and mentally abusive marriage for over a decade. It was me lying to myself that made me ignore red flags at 27, and 28, and 29. It was me lying to myself that kept me complacent and instead of addressing the fact that by staying in an unfulfilling marriage, I repeated a pattern taught to me in my childhood involving distorted notions of duty. It was me lying to myself that caused me to experience the most horrid heartbreak of my life.

See, I’m not talking about reducing our weight by 5lbs. when asked. I’m not talking about adding an extra $5,000 when asked how much we make. I’m talking about those lies that do the most damage to us internally. They are the lies that cause insidious cuts and chips to who we are and who we wish to be. It’s when our spouse can’t love us the way we deserve but we call it “nobody’s perfect” or “he’s trying.” It’s when our best friend is actually a user but we say we’re her “shoulder to lean on.” It’s when we look back at our childhood and abusive parent(s) and call it “tough love.”

Why? Because it’s easier. When you start telling yourself the truth, you become responsible. When you start telling yourself the truth, it becomes your job to deal with your relationship issues, or address prior trauma, or pare your social circle. Internal honesty leads to self-awareness that leaves you unable to blame your circumstances on someone else; no matter how greasy they are.

For me, getting over my marriage and all of the negative emotions associated with it and the divorce process became much easier when I was willing to admit certain truths that I previously pretended didn’t exist. I no longer bore certain burdens because my honesty allowed me true freedom.

And isn’t that what we all want?

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