The lies we tell


Earlier this year I was listening to George Michael on Dessert Island Discs. The programme was a repeat to mark the fact that the singer had recently died on Christmas Day. 2016 was noted for its celebrity deaths, but that did not diminish the shock I felt on hearing about George. Wham was my youth. George’s music has been the soundtrack, off and on, to my life. He was ‘troubled’. Sure. But that was almost his job. And as with so many ‘troubled’ artists, he had something to say. On this occasion he said something that resonated so totally with me that I caught my breath for a moment.

Everything we do is us. Even the lies we tell.

There’s something so complete in that idea. It’s been rolling around in my head for months. Even the lies we tell. It’s really made me think about the lies I tell and how they define me. The things I say I’m not good at (when I’m absolutely fine at them) because I want to avoid judgement. The things I say I am good at (when I could practise a little more) because I don’t want to practise a little more. Every time I laugh at something that isn’t funny. Or argue a point I don’t really believe. What does this say about me? I’d almost go as far as to say Everything we do is us. Especially the lies we tell. Because why choose to lie? We only lie about things we care about. Otherwise why bother to manufacture a deception?

This idea has taken me into a little world of self analysis. When I catch myself in a lie I stop and unpick it. If I care so much about creating this fiction, why not care a little bit more and do the work required to make the lie a truth.

It brings me back to one of my pet subjects. The stories we tell ourselves about ourselves. Because we all have a story. And it’s at the heart of how marketing works. Because when reality doesn’t fit our story we start to search for solutions – if your product or service provides that, you have a sale.

And so to my first lie. Despite going to university in France I can’t really speak French. My French is embarrassingly weak.

Well no more. Just this week I had my first French conversation lesson on skype. I loved it. I could feel the vocabulary coming back to me from a dusty section of my brain. I’m booking more classes.

I’ll make an honest woman of myself yet.

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