I have been there! Although with the title above, I am not certain whether you should believe me. That will be totally up to you.
There are so many ways we lie. Sometimes we are aware of it and sometimes not. Sometimes we plan it out in every little detail, and sometimes it comes out of our mouth with no thought beforehand.
We can make those big audacious stories that sound so good; we sometimes even believe them ourselves. Then, there are those little "white" lies that we believe are so harmless and provide protection for everyone -- in and out of earshot.
There can be lies of commission and lies of omission. There can be the exercise of one of the many forms of denial. These include minimizing, generalizing, rationalizing and diversion as just a few examples. But nonetheless, denial is lying -- both outwardly to others as well as inwardly to our self.
I am pretty sure that we lie to others more often than we think we do.
I am absolutely certain that we lie to ourselves more than we know or would even ever admit.
Lying has been part of so many transgender journeys that it almost seems that it is a requirement. For many of us, the lying never stops.
The other day at Tiffany Club, one of my friends asked the group a question. She was taking a course, and over coffee after the class, she was making friends with another woman who chatted a great deal about herself in a kind of "getting to know you" session. That finished up with the new friend saying, "Next time, you can tell me all about you!" My friend was seeking advice. When it is her turn does she talk about herself as a trans woman or not? Does she come forward, with no lies and say the truth with an unknown outcome of acceptance/rejection, or does she lie with a lie of commission or omission about her status with the hope of establishing a new friendship?
If she takes the first path, she worried that she would not make a friendship. If she took the latter path, she worried what would happen when the truth came out? Rocks and hard places seemed to be present.
There were many opinions expressed on which path to choose, I once had a boss (stop me if you heard this before) who advised to always tell the truth, it is easier to remember. I think this is good advice but... I still was not sure if there was a good answer to the question posed.
A few weeks ago, my BFF Tessa and I were on vacation in St. Thomas. Somehow, some way on our first evening there we met a couple who shared a good deal about themselves, and then Tessa shared much about herself. I would talk about many things I do, about my kids and grandkids, but never did I mention I was trans. They never asked and I never offered. Tessa thought that it was great, and she told me many times she was glad I did not bring it up.
Was I lying by omission? I am not really sure. They never asked any details about Tessa and me, and yet we hung out with them for a few days, went to the beach and swimming, had dinner together and even did karaoke together (a first and one time event for me, I suspect). It felt strange and good. It felt strange and bad. I am holding both of these feelings. Did I lie or did it not matter? I write, I blog, I have done media interviews and my name is out there as a transgender woman. I am pretty open and accessible. Yet, I know this does not fully define me. I can be found on the Internet and it does not take long to find out I am trans. So why does it feel strange not to introduce myself as such? Are there possible consequences and if so, how may it matter to me... or to Tessa. This was occasionally stinging in the hallways of my mind.
How many ways do I see myself? Is any one more important than the others? If I choose to only share certain parts of me with others does that make me a liar? Before I came to accept that I was transgender I would hide so much of myself. I lived in fear someone would find out. I wanted to be open and live openly and not be in fear. And now, I chose to not share with some new friends. Is this the same form of hiding or a completely different type of hiding? Was I protecting myself or also protecting Tessa in order to have a great vacation? Was omission a form of lying, and if so, who was I lying to?
I am pretty sure I do not have answers to most of these questions right now. Perhaps this transgender journey always makes us pretty little liars.
But then again, perhaps everyone's human journey is just the same!
Grace Stevens is a transgender woman who transitioned at the age of 64 and holds a Masters Degree in Counseling Psychology. She is a father of three, grandparent of two, athlete, advocate and author of No! Maybe? Yes! Living My Truth, an intimate memoir of her personal struggle to transition and live her true life authentically as a woman. Grace is available for speaking about authentic living with Living on-TRACK, and Gender Variance Education and Training. Visit her website at: http://www.graceannestevens.com/. Follow Grace on Twitter: www.twitter.com/graceonboard .