On childhood lies

22/11/2017: Why it is okay for kids and adolescents to make up things and why we should not call it lying. When should this behavior come to a stop?

Do you remember how you kept overstating stuff when you were a kid? Maybe making some things up, just to feel a little more interesting to your friends or classmates?

When I was in grade 3, we were on a field trip in the mountains, where we spent most of time walking around observing nature and some landmarks, major or minor. Walking in large groups of people and spending tons of time together in one room, rebelling against the curfew and consequently having nothing to do makes space for a lot of talking. But because we soon exhausted topics and yet felt the need for chatting some more, we invented stories claimed to be our own little experiences we did, apparently in the void of timespace.

I remember saying that I played a role of troll chieftain in the Lord of the Rings. One of the classmates trumped me, though. Not only was his grandfather a president, he did even have his own house and a Mercedes. Oh, and a girlfriend who had been at his place in the instant he was telling the story. Apparently, she called him later, causing him to sound sweet at first and then very worried. Turns out, there is something wrong with the car she arrived home in. He asked if the exhaust is dripping and when she said it wasn’t, he proceeded to warn her that it might explode. It was late. Then he called his grandfather (the president) to inform him of the event and request help to be sent. After that came dinner time and although wondering what of it was actually true, we did not ask him about it since.

I still love, how the era of early widely-available GSM mobile phones enabled this experience. And I totally love the creativity he put into it, although it is wrong to lie and even more wrong to lie to little children.

Time went on and some of us kept up with these fabulations. Or at least I did. They gained a degree of truth as time proceeded and slowly moved aside from the important stuff. For as one of my closest friends said “You are a bit like Holden Caulfield. You lie just so that you have something to tell people about you.” I was an introverted person and never really learned how to blend in with the kids around me, because I was constantly changing schools and moving around with my mom. I was automatically put in position of an outsider wherever I appeared. And though may have had characteristics that would make me loved and acknowledged over time, my borderline ego did not see them. Focus on quick effect was the major objective then.

So I did what I knew. What I had learnt from my classmates in grade 3 as well as from my mom, who does it, though infrequently. I made up lies that could make the overweight screwed up boy from a broken marriage somehow interesting. The first ones were fairly simple, they got progressively worse and worse to the point where I claimed to have a flat and a car and to live alone. Quite openly. I worked for Oracle and was awesome at database programming languages, though I merely knew how to make a for loop in PHP. I even lied about what the correct spelling of my name was.

I did quite well before they expelled me from the boarding school I was at around the age of 16. And to be fair, the expulsion was not a result of lies. It came from my big heartbreak after my first love broke up with me. But let’s not make her feel like I miss her. I don’t. Anyway. I moved over to another school, where being a foreigner was not interesting nor a surprise, because half of the people were anyway. But I kept saying it anyway. I basically held all my lies up and made an enormous dust cloud at the place where I landed. A cloud which made the getting-to-know process last almost a year. But in the end, I succeeded. Through giving the lies up and becoming the real me. Because, in fact, I am an interesting individual and even more than that, one that is more righteous than people who never lied in their life.

So why all the stupid half-truths? Simply because I have seen no other way. Natural leaders in my host societies were jerks and did not really feel like letting me in. Because a ego of a kid who gains some sort of power is seriously about as bad as if it was Hitler himself. Fat people at schools, with abundance of optional sport-focused classes are gonna suffer. People with recent mental breakdown are gonna suffer at elite schools, because the self-proclaimed smartest person has no tolerance for such things and is going to sarcastically point out every little thing. People with poor English accent are gonna suffer when they enter an English school a bit too late because everybody else is already perfect and all of them knew the language throughout at the day they joined. And so on. These people, the subsocietal leaders and stars are the one who force outsiders willing to blend in fail at that task. And they all have my deepest resentment.

Because nobody deserves to be mocked or humiliated for being just slightly different or just slightly weaker. Nobody deserves to be pushed into tears or into lies or into deliberate abandoning of said society in spite of the benefits it has.

The ones who gain strong position in society should support, listen, and enable peace instead of causing intramural civil war. A good example is Betty, at the last school. She was pretty awesome. And I had a crush on her. But that is a story for another time.