September 12, 2015
What to do when your truth is ugly.
Whenever I seem like I'm holding some bit of information back, my husband has a saying.
"Tell the truth and shame the devil."
I really have no idea what this means, but it never fails to make me smile a little bit.
There are all sorts of reasons why I sometimes have a hard time telling my truth.
Sometimes it's because I don't feel like the person I'm talking to is going to receive it very well.
Sometimes it's because I'm just exhausted and don't feel like working up the nerve.
And sometimes, it's because I don't like the truth.
Sometimes, it's ugly.
Lately, I've been sitting on a big pile of ugly truth. And I don't care what the devil feels about it one way or another. I just don't want to let it out.
But isn't it funny how the truth is the truth, no matter if we say it or not? And if it is, in fact, the truth, it has a way of eating away at us.
So maybe you're wondering what my so-called ugly truth is. It's nothing unique to me. And parts of it may look just like yours.
It's a collection of things really. When you take a page from my book, it's not one neatly colored-inside-the-lines page, but a whole handful of them, ripped haphazardly without the luxury of perforations. Just jagged edges.
Selfishness. Jealousy. Hurt feelings. Anxiety. Worry. And that was just in the last 45 seconds of scrolling through my Facebook news feed.
We all struggle. It's just part of life. And some days are more of an uphill climb than others. But it is what it is. And if everybody threw all their troubles in a big pile, I'd still pick the ones I have. Because they really aren't even troubles to speak of. They just don't look so shiny and pretty through an Instagram filter.
We've been watching episodes of Seinfeld on Hulu this summer...how I love that show. I have a favorite episode when George's fiance Susan wants to start hanging out with the gang, but of course he isn't keen on the idea. Somehow they all end up at the coffee shop without George and Jerry knows immediately that this is not going to end well when George shows up.
My favorite part is when Jerry says quietly to himself "This is gonna be ugly." Susan overhears him and asks "What's that Jerry?" and Jerry replies: "Boy, am I ugly."
I don't know why but this makes me feel better about my ugly truth. Maybe if we can just see things clearly, it helps provide some perspective.
What if just admitting it could take some its power away?
Sometimes the truth is ugly. That doesn't make it any less true. It might be difficult, messy, unattractive, uncomfortable, awkward and gross. And that's okay.
But then there's something that comes to mind. The final line from Keats' Ode on a Grecian Urn --
'beauty is truth, truth beauty,' -- that is all Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know"
If beauty is truth and truth is beauty, how can our truth every truly be ugly? What if it's not up to us to decide what is ugly or not, but instead we were meant to use our energy spreading truth? Even in the midst of what feels ugly, we can be our beautiful, powerful selves if we just hang on to what we know. The truth.
My great-grandma used to say that "the truth will stand when the world is on fire."
I'd so much rather live in a few ugly truths than try to keep up a pretty lie. How about you?