August 28, 2008

To Tell The Truth

My son came in last night a bit worried. He is reading Roald Dahl's Boy. Apparently Roald asks his grandmother what happens if you swallow a toothbrush bristle. Apparently she told him it will give you appendicitis. This introduced a serious worry for my dear boy. He wishes to avoid appendicitis. Suddenly, it sounded remarkably easy to contract.

Sigh.

First I said, "My darling, this is of no more significance than a boy floating in a giant peach talking to human sized bugs." He teared up and said, "even if I'm reading a biography?"

Sigh.

"Bring me the book." I said, "first of all, this is an autobiography from a Writer Of Fiction." Then we discussed Writers Of Fiction. I pointed out how the phrase "all true" was written in several places on the cover and in the introduction. Daisy Dog wandered in and fell asleep as we were talking. I said, "did you see Daisy come in here? Listen to me. The procession arrived grandly and with great authority commanded our attention." I nodded toward Daisy. "True story, yes?" Then I said, "the dog walked in and fell asleep on the floor. True story, yes?" He admitted, each true, yes.

I said that the truth is a slippery and expandable thing, especially for Writers Of Fiction. I pointed out that their goal is to tell a fine interesting story which captures your attention. And that's a lovely thing. We want to hear a fine story. We want to be entertained. But you have to be careful as you listen. You have to know that you are reading for entertainment. You need to understand the finesse of exaggeration and reality that good writers may occasionally blur. And you should be very clear about how this relates to the facts.

Which got me thinking about my sister. Yesterday I said that she may be insane. I don't think that is exactly true. She may have a borderline personality disorder. I don't know. But there is one thing I absolutely do know. I love her. I love her almost as much as I love my husband and my children, which is a thing I can say about scant few people. And she has trusted me through her life, mostly, I believe. So I have been privy to her intimate stories. And I can say this. She lies. I've watched her lie to lovers, husbands, our immediate family, her therapist, her friends, and me. The lying is nearly pathological.

Her world is suspended in a protoplasm of lies. I imagine it is murky, dark, confusing, and unfriendly. I do not want to be anywhere near it. And I now flee that world.

A month ago I realised that I began to write here for one unspoken reason. I realized that this blog helps me manage the hole she left in my life. When I refused to care for her son, (everyday without pay as the working plan for her life) she simply quit speaking to me. Thus, our relationship severed. Again. Only this time, I'm not going back. And I know this. And it hurts me every day. Thus, the hole and my previously unconscious need to come here and write. And to tell the truth as best I can, as loud as I can. I come here to tell the truth, to escape the murk and swill.

Aren't layers of truth fascinating? I had no idea I was driven to write here because I was sad and missing my sister. Now I know it is true. And while I know that some truth can be ephemeral and very much in the eye of the beholder. All I can do is cling and keep climbing toward authenticity, integrity, earnest intention, and spaciousness. I feel lies as binding constriction. They feel terrible, which is one way I recognise them. My heart will often feel them before my brain catches up.

I can try to teach the children as I go. And try and fortify them with solid information about the world. I wish someone had done the same for my sister when she was growing up. I wish she could do it for herself, now.

4 comments:

MOM #1 said...

That's terrible about you and your sister, but I certainly understand.

My sister and I keep each other sane because my Mother is going out of her way to trap us up in her mental disorder. *SIGH* Family can make you do some interesting things for the sake of yourself.

rae said...

Lost sister love really does leave a big hole, doesn't it? When I think about what that has meant/means in my own life, it grips my gut in such an uncomfortable way. Our boundaries keep us healthy and sane, but the loss continues to make us sad. Ah, but this is a comment box - not a blog post of my own. ;)

robin said...

hey katherine,
it is so interesting how we fill these love holes. while i don't blog to fill mine, i love that you share your truth with us to fill yours. i wish you peace in the space of letting go and loving from a distance.
hugs ~robin

Mama Podkayne said...

delurking a bit to say,
i understand. i don't blog about it, but family loss does make such a huge break in the heart, it can be hard to express.