Of the various personality traits that my child self possessed, the one that I regard highest when I reflect on times past was my brutal sense of honesty. In those early years, I was a boisterous and opinionated child, the kind of kid that’s impossible to get to just shut up. In tandem, those qualities frequently cast me in the role of the child who eagerly betrayed lying parents/relatives lies, thinking I was helping by correcting a faulty recollection on their part. When they’d reactively tried to shush me in the moment, it would confuse me — I didn’t comprehend why I was being silenced for presenting the truth. By the time I started attending grade school, I recognized that lying was something that people did and that they had often had reasons for doing it, but still didn’t fully comprehend what would motivate a person to willingly not tell the truth. When we started learning about US Presidents, I distinctly remember drawing a sense of inspiration and camaraderie from one Mr. Abraham “Honest Abe” Lincoln.
Once I started growing out of the toddler/child phase and consequences became an active part of life, I started experimenting with deception in the same manner most kids do. It was something I only kept within my immediate family. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I had the notion that if I lied to someone I wasn’t related to and was found out, I’d be introduced to a harsh unknown punishment I didn’t care to ever know. As childhood transitioned into adolescence, I gradually grew comfortable with the practice of lying. The more I started to see the world for what it really is, the more I noticed that it had actually been pretty common in my life; my family members told little lies all the time, I was just not able to recognize it with my child mentality. This familiarity with small lies stayed with me until around the age of 24. It was then I started really examining my choices and behaviors, and really started coming down on myself for getting so comfortable with the process. Even though I knew that everyone lies at some point in their life, what with human nature and all, I still felt like I’d ruined some mythical clean record of honesty and compromised my integrity over small things that weren’t worth lying about.
It was at that age of 24 that I started feeling a hard disconnect from my true self and started delving into the subject of personal development in an attempt to fix that. Honesty was one of the key areas in which I felt that incongruence. As a teenager, I lied to avoid punishment or to further my own interests/desires. As a young adult, I found that I lied because I’d grown to fear the consequences of telling the truth, and it permeated even the basic social interactions; it became preferable for me to say to friends I was leaving because I was tired and go spend the rest of the night alone at home than to simply express that I was bored or had no interest in what we were doing and suggest an alternative activity.
Now, after the big year of isolation in 2012, I’ve reconnected with that child self that I’ve desperately missed for the last decade, that person who only speaks truth (or, when applicable, simply refuses to answer the question) and doesn’t give a damn about what might happen, planted firmly on the belief that honesty should not be punished. Having emerged as a strong proponent of the mythopoetic men’s movement, I strive for utmost honesty I believe it to be a quality that any true man should possess, because it is the right thing to do. After all, you have to first put something out into the world before you can rightfully begin to expect it from others.