Freedom lies in truth

My maternal grandmother had Alzheimer’s. My uncle used to joke that at least she could hide her own easter eggs, but he couldn’t visit her. He couldn’t see his mother like that & they didn’t have a particularly great relationship.

In a short space of time, I think about 6 months, my grandfather & father both died, as well as my gran’s brother, a son-in-law and a nephew. It wasn’t a particularly easy time for any of us.

Anyway, my gran went to live in a home where they could look after her properly. This after having a big house & garden with fruit trees & the lot must have been difficult. But she would always ask when my grandfather was coming to fetch her – she would usually say that she came to help put up some curtains or something. For a while someone would explain to her that my grandfather was dead & she’d be distraught AGAIN.

My dad worked at sea for most of his life so she was used to him being away but she’d be mad that he wasn’t coming to visit. Not that she’d remember if he did, but we just told her he was at sea when she asked.

It wasn’t lying, it was making her & our lives easier. That’s clear & I don’t think anyone would have an issue with it.

I have a tattoo, a tramp stamp if you will, that says ‘freedom lies in truth’. It was a phrase that constantly ran through my head for a couple of weeks after a rather shit breakup. So I had it written on my body. It has always been more bearable if the person breaking up is honest about the reasons why. Being honest about who I am has been liberating.

But a lot of people have disagreed. And yes, if you’re gay & living in Saudi-Arabia the truth is probably going to cause your death or at least imprisonment.

I recently had a disagreement with someone about being clear & honest about some fairly personal aspect of myself. I was told that I was lying & a whole bunch of other things. I’m still trying to define it myself, so I don’t believe there will be much freedom in sharing something that could change especially since it has the power to hurt some people. I also know that is specifically has the power to hurt someone in a very fragile state. Is my freedom more important than potentially causing irreparable damage?

I ‘lost’ a friend last year because I was brutally honest. I didn’t think it would have the effect that it did, because I was sure they would respond in the character I thought I knew. I don’t regret what I said, but I would probably approach it in a different way in future.

So does freedom lie in truth?

One thought on “Freedom lies in truth”

  1. I think perhaps the question here is what is truth. What is true for you may not be true for someone else (sorry to be such a relativist). You could be in the same room with a family member, and something happens, and what the core of the event is/was is remembered or felt differently by both of you. So perhaps it is that your truth matters to you, that your freedom lies in being your truth (knowing that this truth may also change) as your understanding and your ‘you-ness’ changes (I bet you’re not the same person you were at 20, though I’m sure some of that is still carried in you concurrently with your current truth). Its a bit of a roundabout answer to your question, because I don’t think the question is straightforward. You also mention different kinds of circumstances where lies are ‘helpful’ and others in which truth is ‘hurtful’ but aren’t there also harmful lies, and helpful truths?

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