Way back in the dark ages (the 70s and 80s, specifically), when you interviewed for a job you had to take what was called a “personality” test. It had all kinds of nosy questions in it such as “are you a people person?” and “do you see your coworkers as friends?” and my personal favorite: “do you mind being interrupted when you are in the middle of a task?”
Since I always wanted the job, I gave answers that I felt would swing things in my favor. So of course I said I was a real ‘people person’ (I wasn’t) and certainly viewed my coworkers as friends (I didn’t), and of course I didn’t mind being interrupted (I despise being interrupted). Basically I lied my butt off.
As the PC police had not yet raised its angry little head, it was ok back then for men to ogle you, tell you suggestive jokes, grope you in the hallways and complain about you if you acted “all girly.” It was pretty difficult to be taken seriously. Enough said.
I often wonder if I would have gotten those same jobs if I had been completely honest. Had I admitted that I really wasn’t a “people person,” but knew how to navigate with them, that might have changed the direction of my career. But that was then, and this is now, AND I’m retired and no longer have to try to impress everyone.
It seems funny to me now that I felt I couldn’t be my authentic self back then. I was always fearful of losing my job, so I played along with every stupid rule there was at whatever job I had. It makes me cringe to think of it now, but honestly, that’s what you had to do at that time.
Isn’t it strange how we can let our insecurities become truth in our lives? The best thing about getting older is the clarity that comes; we realize we no longer have to please anyone but ourselves. We find ourselves speaking the truth without shame or excuses. We are able to see our flaws and forgive them, or at least put them to one side.
I am done with lying now, and what a relief that is! It’s so much easier to just tell the truth and not to have to remember lies and excuses. To be truthful, I still don’t see myself as a ‘people person,’ and I really do not like being interrupted when I speak or when I’m working on something.
But at least I am the most authentic me I’ve ever been. I am now a turtle without a shell, and it’s ok to show my tender self as I am. Even having lost both parents in less than two years taught me that I can indeed stand on my own. I keep saying to myself, ‘it’s ok; you’re all grown up now and who cares what other people think.’
So for me, the lying is over. Finally.