Tell me the story of the day I was born, he says. So I tell him every detail I can pull from the dusty corners of my cluttered mind and heart. I love remembering that day. It is our story and I tell it, glad for the asking.
He is in awe, transfixed by the words of his own beginning
he sits quiet and still
more still than seems possible for him
His favorite part is the most dramatic
the way we held our breath
to wait for his first breath
and then we cried with him
and held him and kissed him
I finish with a bang and hold him tight, and then I think about how important it is for a person to have their stories told
I see how his eyes light up with anticipation for the most exciting parts of his story. I see the smile pull at the corners of his mouth when I give words to the part where Daddy said over and over there he is, there he is, there he is with tears on his face. He loves that part, the part of his first appearance.
I love that part too.
In the midst of the daily grind, the mundane, the same old, our hearts cry out for stories of overcoming, of emotional upheaval and adventure. We want to feel our stories and have them felt because most of the time we have no time to feel anything at all and we were made to feel all the time but we're not.
So stories are made up.
There are balloon boys and memoirs that are mostly fiction. There are people who lie to save face on talk shows even if the opposite truth is obvious. There's producer-induced drama on reality TV, and now we have an Internet filled with alleged and confirmed story tellers of make believe, claiming their tales are true until they can't because they're caught.
A dream of making people feel, and it being about them.
We are angry and confused, sometimes hurt, making guesses at why someone would do such a thing. Money? Fleeting fame? Mental illness? All of the above? And some of us react rather than respond. We don't take the time to think it through. So that's what I'm trying to do here.
I'm trying to understand this.
I don't suppose this is new. Of course, before television and the worldwide web, there were liars. It's just that now, there are so many public ways to gain the trust of an audience and then stomp on it. And then there are so many ways for an audience to stomp and shout in protest.
What gets me is this.
Failing to see the pure magic in the simplicity of our true stories is dangerous. It leads a person to fear, and fear makes us do a lot of ugly things.
People seem so afraid that without embellishments and dramatic twists and turns, their true stories could disappear
Some people can't handle that fear, for reasons that are a part of their own personal tragedy, exciting enough just as it is. So the loneliness that is fear is winning and they lie in hopes that ears will turn to their words, eyes lighting up.
Or maybe they just simply forget that they are valuable without the lies that are meant to entice and intrigue.
They trade their image for one built on lies, when the truth is that they are already
without the half-truths, exaggerations, or bold-faced lies.
They are more than good enough. If only they knew.
I'm trying to understand this.