For me, anxiety means that I lie. A lot.

I lie a lot. I never mean to and I don’t like to. I never lie about the important things—in fact there I’m a terrible liar but little social lies? Yeah, those I do all the time. I fear judgement so I say what I think people want to hear. I fear other people feeling bad so I say what I think will make them happy. I pretend I know less than I do or I don’t correct someone when they’re factually incorrect. I just smile and nod.

And I hate it. I hate so much not feeling free to be honest and me.

I was raised in an environment that taught me “you get more flies with honey than vinegar” and learned the hard way that if you are sweet, deferential, and ask for help you’ll get support whereas if you’re honest and forthright (as a woman) you won’t, you’ll just piss people off.

My teachers liked it when I was sweet and down to the ground respectful and did not like it at all if I challenged them or even acted like I knew stuff.

This was hard for me, so hard but I got the message and I performed sweetness and light so well it’s second nature to me.

However, now I’m an adult. I live in a more accepting environment and I feel like I can tell the truth more if I can only remind myself to do so. And also that even if people don’t like it—that’s okay, they’ll be fine. If someone tells me about a restaurant that’s really good that I should go to, I don’t have to act like I’ve never heard of it and interested in going when in fact, I’ve been there and I didn’t like it. I can say those things and it’ll be okay.

When someone tells me about a recent event or an article or directions to a place I know how to get to, I don’t have to pretend I didn’t know about it.

Yet, I still often do. It’s habit. It’s what I was taught in the culture I grew up in in the Southwest.

I was taught not to talk back and that included correcting someone or even just giving my opinion.

But that’s antithetical to who I am—I like teaching people and discussing ideas and events with people. I like learning from others but also sharing my own knowledge and perspectives.

So even though during the Pandemic, I’m scared that people are going to judge me for my choices (and that different people will judge me for different reasons for the same choices), I’m going to try to be more upfront with people. I’m still going to respect them and their opinion, but if I disagree, I’m not going to lie and pretend to agree.

I’ve been getting groceries delivered for several years now. With my disability, grocery shopping is physically taxing—I need several hours to prepare for it and rest up after (if not a whole day). The pain and fatigue made it a completely acceptable splurge. It’s something that is totally worth me spending money on. Yet, I have worried in the past about telling people about it—that they’ll think I’m lazy or entitled, or something.

And now during the Pandemic, some people think it’s socially responsible and others think it’s abusing the workers who need the grocery delivery jobs. I can’t win with everyone and I can’t keep lying to those who might disagree. I think it’s an acceptable practice for me to keep doing during the Pandemic and after.

I do think that since I can, I should tip more because there is more risk to the workers and I respect that they are performing this service for me that makes a huge difference in my weekly quality of life.

But I don’t want to hide it or excuse it or even explain my disability as the only acceptable reason for grocery delivery (because it implies that others shouldn’t get groceries delivered and I don’t want to participate in that type of shaming if it’s right for them and they’re doing it as ethically as possible).

So I’m going to try to be more honest. It’s going to take me a long time because the habit is so ingrained but I want to start now. So here it goes: I get my groceries delivered.

 Photo by nrd on Unsplash

4 thoughts on “For me, anxiety means that I lie. A lot.

  1. Why do people say it’s abusing the workers who need those jobs? Isn’t it part of the job?

    I appreciate your honesty and I got to be honest… I’ve done the same even before the pandemic. I have such anxiety about driving and outright fear that if I don’t think I can do it at a slow, slow time or even if I think I’m going to panic I just order. Heck it’s probably better for everyone.

    I don’t know maybe I’ve lived with it to long but I always feel like if it’s about my mental health unless people have actual helpful solutions to offer they can keep their opinion to themselves 🙂 Enjoy your week!

    Liked by 1 person

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