No More Lies – Weekly Writing Challenge: Truth Is Stranger Than Fiction

wpid-IMAG0661_BURST002.jpgI remember this day. I was sicker than a dog, some Ukrainian sinus infection that I refused to succumb to. I should have stayed in bed, but I wouldn’t. I continued to act healthy until I just couldn’t fake it anymore. Fever. Cough. Sinus pressure. I felt terrible. I was miserable.

But this was the day my neighbor’s daughter, Anya, brought out her books to show me how she could read English while I was waiting on my laundry. This was the day we played with clay putty, something I used to do with my grandma, something to me incredibly nostalgic. See that bracelet on my hand? She wanted to give me that, a prize she had won in class. She wouldn’t take no for an answer. I wore it for the rest of the trip, never stopping to think that it might look silly. I counted it precious. It was a comfort, a reminder of the day I learned the truth.

And all it took to rattle my nice little American world was a little girl in a cramped Ukrainian apartment who wanted to show me her English.

This was the day I finally understood that I wanted to make a difference, that I could make a difference, even if it was just teaching a little girl one word of English in a far-away country.

I suddenly remembered a day ten long years ago, standing outside my house at fifteen, breathing deeply of the wind and wondering where it had been, where it was going, and was that some kind of Eastern spice I smelled in the air? I was dying to go and find out. That girl was all fear and trepidation, unsure, and insecure. That fifteen-year-old girl had no idea of where she would be ten years later, that one day she would just up and go away for a month all on her own. Sometimes I remember the girl I was and smile, because I owe it to who I used to be to be who I am now.

I owe it to myself to live my dreams.

We owe it to the young versions of ourselves to fulfill their dreams — those dreams we used to cherish.

People have continually picked this one picture out of my hundreds and commented on how I’m “glowing” or “look really happy”. Maybe I had a fever. Maybe it was just because I was sick. Maybe it’s sweat. But the one comment I can’t argue with, the one that gets me every time, is: “You don’t look like that over here.”

Deep down inside, I know they are right.

There’s only been a handful of times in my life that I can remember being really truly as happy as I was in that picture, when I was relaxed, didn’t care about how I looked, or if I was pretty, or if my tummy pudge was showing. Only six brief moments when I was convinced that life was going to be good and worth living. This was one of those moments, illness notwithstanding.

Because this was the day I realized that my life was a joke. I hadn’t been doing anything worthwhile or helping anyone or making anything better. I was treading water, just taking up space and wasting time playing games on people and computers. I hadn’t really been living the life I dreamed of in the secret attic of my mind, and I had spent a great amount of time and effort trying to convince myself otherwise. I claimed to want a career, a house, and a family. But did I? Had I only been pretending after all?

The truth?

I was living a lie.

This was the day I stopped lying.

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122 responses to “No More Lies – Weekly Writing Challenge: Truth Is Stranger Than Fiction

  1. What a fantastic piece…I really enjoyed it. I also feel like I am at a cross-roads in my life as well and trying to figure out “what I want to be when I grow up”. Thank you for sharing, I look forward to reading more from you.

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  3. We all live lies. It’s when we really get caught up in a moment of just being with another person and taking it in through all of our senses while appreciating looking into another’s eyes–because they tell the real story–to be grateful for another moment with a human, that truth results. We are connected to each other and kids show us that everyday.

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    • I’m currently planning a return trip to Ukraine, but there are no definite details yet. In the meantime, I’m developing my writing skills and studying Russian and Ukrainian!

      • Sounds beautiful! What a wonderful turn of events, I hope something over there comes up for you (the universe will probably make sure of that, always seems to work out somehow)

      • Thanks! I hope so too. The trip last September was like that; everything just fell into place and suddenly I was going a year sooner than planned. Seems like when things are meant to work out, they generally do.

  5. I always speak the truth now the truth matters
    I have for a quite a number of years
    For believing in each other
    Teaches us all to be the best one can be
    And have a perfect heart to share
    Have a beautiful tomorrow
    Daniel angel from Cape Cornwall

  6. Amazing how (and why) there comes a moment, an incident, an occurrence -of no firework effect- that restores a deeper understanding of our inner truth. And it is then that – in relief- we witness how something so small yet so big can bring life back into life again. Takes functioning eyes to see. Truly happy to have come across your blog.

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