That’s not what I meant

I can look back over my life and see specific points of time that are tarnished by half-truths — statements that were dialed back just enough to not make a situation worse than it already was, or where it was heading.

Some of my 30-something frustrations are things I’ve assumed were a result of just getting older. But what if they’re a result of just never having been truthful enough? If I could say a few things over, here’s what they might be:

When I said I wasn’t hungry, what I really meant was that being in your presence turns my stomach into a giant knot. I was hungry. Starving, in fact, but not for food…for you to reciprocate.

When I said it was good to see you, a statement that seemed to put a lovely farewell bow on our time together, I really meant I didn’t want you to leave at all — in the first place, and then when I saw you again months later.

When I said I understood that you didn’t feel for me what I felt for you, what I really meant was that I thought you were making a huge mistake by choosing her instead.

When I said it was me and not you, what I really meant was that it was you.

When I said I supported your decision, I really thought you were making a move you’d regret for years to come.

When I said I understood and that I wouldn’t judge, I didn’t really understand at all. And I did judge.

I don’t like that the truth can sometimes hurt, so I’ve avoided it a lot. What I like less is wondering whether the hole that I sometimes feel like I’m in is a result of my own doing — soft words or admitting defeat instead of letting the voice inside come out and be heard. Some people think that honesty is the best policy, while my life tends to be mostly characterized by, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” But surely there must be a happy medium between the two, yes?

Today I am thankful for realizing there’s an opportunity to learn to speak up more often, more openly and more truthfully than before. Better late than never, I suppose.

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