I was an easy liar
Episode 01:01:2023 - Where I introduce myself and the project.
That Place You Love: where you can gimme some truth.
As a child my lies had little consequence, but they were untruths by definition. I had no good reason to tell a kid that a can of aerosol starch was Barbie hairspray or my mother that I was practicing the clarinet when I fell through a lake in my Moon Boots. My lies didn’t serve anyone. I was called out by the entire neighborhood for the fake Barbie hairspray (not for use on humans or dolls) and my clarinet reed cracked the night of the school concert from disuse (10-year-olds don’t pack spares).
Why lie if I wasn’t trying to get away with anything?
Growing up without siblings and starting fresh at five different schools meant I could present myself how I wanted. No one could counter my narrative. At private school, I was the cool-kid in knock-off Izod shirts who rich-kids took on family holidays. At public school, I was the casual truant who made friends across race, class, and religion. I would add gender, but I only went to all-girl schools where lifelong social bonds were formed and tested on a daily basis.
I thought lying made me more interesting.
One of my stock lies was that my first live concert was The Police, Ghost in the Machine. I’ve never seen The Police. I don’t remember my first live concert (why I made up the lie). I also said I saw Pelé play for the Cosmos in New York and that Mick Jagger was in our private box. Pelé was on the team from 1975 - 77 when my best friend’s mother was a sports writer, so it’s possible I was there. But Mick? Doubtful.
After high school, I chose to live a life that didn’t require embellishment to be interesting. This meant doing things worthy of the memorable anecdote status rather than inventing them. The transformation was neither quick nor easy. It came with a sucker punch to the face, a broken nose, and a lot of heartbreak. Psychedelics aided my existential exploration and forced me to pass long nights asking myself, “Who do you think you are?”
(The answer relies on honesty. Who I think I am may not be true.)
If I cannot be honest with myself, how will I know when I’m being lied to?
Fast-forward to today and fifteen years working in advertising. I’m not the person paid to come up with the brand message for a campaign. I’m the person who considers how that message is translated into images and dialogue on screen (two incredibly powerful tools of influence).
Language is the first casualty when belief hardens.
One advantage of listening to the honesty of my own voice is I’ve developed a heightened sensitivity to language and symbols used to force a desired narrative onto me or to obfuscate what is obviously plain with plaid. I’ve become so attuned to the high risk of artful manipulation that I only work on campaigns for gourmet pasta, lime-flavored beer, premium house paint, and good ol’ luxury cars (most of which are not electric, by the way).
Honesty requires saying "I don't know" and “I was wrong” without shame.
I’ve been in a relationship for sixteen and a half years. Every morning I wake up to my partner saying, “The love of my life is right here.” How could I be so lucky? Both of us worked hard on humility. It feels better to admit being wrong than to lie about it or to shift blame from myself to him or someone else, also a form of dishonesty.
Why am I telling you this? Why are you here?
The goal of this project is to invite you to write about truth, lies, and the difference between them, to flex your muscles and refine your BS radar.
Each Monday, I will propose a theme, in no particular order:
Faith, Efficacy, Theft, Appearance, Accountability, Reliability, Skill, Talent, Presence, Crime, Direction, Function, Taste, Intimacy, Inclusion, Exclusion, Durability, Language, Temperature, Sensation, Care, Law, Work, Home, Plans, Cost, Promise, Credibility, Experience, Cheating, Academics, Valuation, Sports, Gambling, Science, Policy, Treatment, Weight, Adornment, Use…
I will share a personal anecdote of truth related to the theme in 250 words or less. You will share a personal anecdote of truth related to the theme in 150 words or less.
Why the word count? It makes us more specific when we cut out the fluff and the excuses. I’ve found many social media posts revolve around something that’s happened TO the author rather than what they have done. We take ownership of our experiences writing succinctly in first person.
The only truth you can control is the truth you tell.
I’ll share a few rules to keep things civilized and on track.
I hope you decide to participate!
Gimme some truth.
PS: This is my first Substack. Let me know if you run into any glitches.
Tamara (As in tomorrow with a Philly accent)
Cutler (The Knife/Cutlass Supreme)