White Lies

Fatalistic dark Hibernian humor. It’s in my genes. Try as I might, I’ve learned that the only way to walk through life without having slain bodies strewn randomly about is to keep mum and live a hermetically sealed life. I’m not certain when my cynicism crossed the line into bitterness, but it did. I’m praying it’s just a phase. Makes me sad to think I’ve come this far only to be a disappointment and disappointed. It is what it is. I tell myself that by not having kids I’ve done my part in breaking the cycle of insanity, codependence, and alcoholism prevalent in my family. And I have been making amends to the world at large by remaining sober going on four decades.

Recently someone asked me in passing if I was going to spend the holidays with my family and I replied that I have no family—at least none that I recognize. I’ve learned that people don’t talk like that. It’s not the done thing to speak one’s truth when it reveals a raw nerve. Apparently, it’s too unpleasantly bare for the person on the receiving end. But I don’t know any other way to be. I’ve tried white lying it but that leaves me feeling dirty somehow and a shadow lurks behind me screaming, over and over, Tell the truth, mother fucker.


Richmond, VA

Maureen McSweeneyComment