Earlier in the summer, I became aware that my partner David’s mother was reaching out for help to throw a surprise party for him. She was so sweet, so excited, and so determined that I bit my tongue when I felt compelled to remind her that David hates surprise parties. So the plan went on. For months. Up until the week of the party I wasn’t too concerned about keeping it a secret from David, because that basically entailed just not talking about it.
As the weekend of the party crept up, my stress did the same. I knew I was going to have to do some serious lying. David trusted me, so I was going to get away with it. But my stress didn’t come from worrying I was going to blow the secret of the party. Like I said before, I am increasingly sensitive to lying in any form (even if it’s lying for the sake of a damn surprise party). The morning of the party came, and I was sweating bullets. I had stayed with David the night before and had made up the story that I was needed at Songaia for a few hours that afternoon to do some watering. His mom had asked that he come “help her with a party she was throwing” that afternoon, so he and I we were going to meet back up for dinner.
Now, I am not sure how else to explain the irony in this, other than the universe testing me. The morning of the party, as David and I ate our favorite breakfast together (potato hash with peppers), we got on the topic of trust. Specifically, how important and fragile trust can be in relationships. Well, shit. Yes, I agree with the things you are saying and here are my opinions on the value of trusting and being trust-worthy. But also, here are a bunch of lies. “I need to go water at Songaia for a few hours today” “You can’t drive me to Songaia because I need my car for doing errands” “Yes I would love to watch that movie with you tonight that we’re definitely going to be home in time for”. The list goes on. And he asked no questions when I walked out of his door wearing a dress and makeup to go work in the garden. What a sweet man.
The party was a hit. David had no clue, I got to meet so many people who are important to him, and despite the fact that it was a surprise party...I think he really loved it. Even though the party was a hit and David was happy, something had changed. I had lied to him and gotten away with it. This was new. And it wasn’t just one lie, it was a whole set of lies, designed to deceive. And it felt bad, even after the truly innocent purpose of the lies came to light.
Patricia asked us the other day what we are “addicted” to fostering in our lives. What are we passionate about? What do we go out of our way to create? For me, it’s intimacy. Usually people reserve the word “intimacy” for romantic relationships. But I think that there is so much value in applying the word to friendships. I am passionate about developing intimate relationships with people. When I say I am a horrible liar it’s not because I cannot tell a convincing lie. It’s because in building relationships, intimacy can only be really realized if we show up authentically. This cannot be achieved if you are perpetuating lies, no matter how innocuous they seem, because those lies can shatter the same trust that authenticity builds. I believe showing up authentically, as challenging as it can be, is a pillar of social permaculture. Who could have guessed a surprise party would be an opportunity for growth?
P.S. Still not convinced David has totally forgiven me ;)