I notice myself lying so subtly and automatically that I feel like my college students who wrote in their diary essays that everybody says good when you ask how they’re doing because good is easy because it’s what people want to hear and it ends the inquiry. But I don’t think good is what people really want to hear or at least not all people or at least not me. And yet it annoys me how often I perpetrate the proverbial “good” or status quo or silence instead of pushing my opinion out of my mouth. Why? Why the unwillingness to put oar in the river and paddle against the current of the conversation? Why? Because my interlocutor is older, in a superior employment position? Because they’re a student or they’re tattooing me?
A few days ago, the tattoo artist and the apprentice joked about the middle aged man with a hairy back who wanted a music note and carnation and 13 ball all in the same shoulder piece, and were like what the hell kind of suburban piece of foolery wants that gag me now shit on his back? They were like that’s not collage, that’s not mash-up, that’s not pastiche, that’s just a puddle of image vomit. And I didn’t say anything partly because my neck was being pummeled by a tattoo needle and I didn’t want to upset the man whose hand held the aesthetic future of my collar line, but I also didn’t say anything because I’m a coward.
I’m a coward telling himself silence is respect, but silence isn’t respect, it’s just fear. It’s the quiver-lipped yearning for approval. My goal for today is total truth. I’m going to count lying by omission as a lie. At least for me, my glom brained yakking for approval bubbles up from a lack of self confidence. Which is itself married to a deeply coached perfectionism. How so? Because the voice of perfectionism says they must like me, they must like me, they must like me.
Perfectionism cannibalizes me. Eats fingers, toes.
I don’t watch TV but it was on and I was in the same room and this is what I heard today and it was interesting so I wrote it down:
In the first stages of hypothermia, the body tries to generate heat through shivering. When this fails, it decreases blood flow to the extremities. Metabolism slows to a crawl. You're dying, but you don't know it. In the final stages, the victim only breathes once or twice a minute. A state of suspended animation.
This how perfectionism feels. It cuts soul, leaves an empty vapid shell of cold corpse—a yes man.
Let’s skip Cards of Humanity or Settlers of Catan. How about we modify Truth or Dare and just play truth. And let’s not make it a game, let’s play all the time. Or at least the rest of the day.