BY MELISSA MARTONE
Lying is an art. It is for me, at least. I’ve perfected my technique over the years, allowing myself to fall deeper and deeper into my stories; I immersed myself in my made up life. Sometimes I even find myself reliving a memory, watching it happen behind my eyes like a movie, only to realize that it never happened. Lying was, and to an extent, still is my defense mechanism. It was a way to make myself not so boring. But here’s the thing; I wasn’t boring, I’m still not.
I was a perfectly normal teenager; I did decently in school, had a few friends, was relatively good looking and well liked, you know, normal. But something about that normality came across to me as boring. I wanted something drastic to happen. I would pray to be in a car accident, or break my leg for some attention. I would hope my parents got divorced so I could be from a broken home. I wished for something tragic to happen to me, so I would have an excuse to dive headfirst into self-destruction. But none of that happened. So I made up the life I desired and wore it like a disguise.
I was already thin in high school, but to amplify the attention I got, I snuck to the bathroom and made vomiting noises after lunch, when I was sure someone would hear me. I would wear bandages on my arms, even when there were no cuts to cover, so my teachers and classmates would worry about me. I would grind up Tylenol and put it in little baggies and carry them around in my backpack, so people thought I was doing drugs. I told my boyfriend outrageous stories about me sleeping with other people, to make him angry, so he would shake me or hit me in the school hallways, where other people could see, and feel bad for me.
I really struggled with this new identity, I had to make up lie after lie to cover my ass when someone started asking questions; Have you ever shot up heroin? Yes. Did you say you were raped? Yes. You had sex with a guy older than your dad? Yes. Have you ever tried to kill yourself? Oh yeah. But none of it was true; it was all a thick, disgusting façade. No one knew my secret, which was that I was normal. I was a normal girl who had never even tried a sip of alcohol or a drag of a cigarette, who had never had sex, who had never done any of those things that were making her the most interesting girl at South Windsor High School.
Despite all of the attention, my double life was stressing me out. I would rip off bandages, take safety pins out of my ear piercings, and wipe off heavy makeup on the bus on my way home, so my mom wouldn’t see. I was tired of living like that, but I didn’t know how to stop what I had started.
A side effect of this crazy double life was that I was starting to turn into this girl I had created. I dropped all of my friends that had known me before, because I didn’t want them to seem me rot. I picked up some new friends, kids from the bad crowd, you know, the ones your mother warned you about. I dyed my hair crazy colors, I lost a seriously unhealthy amount of weight, I started staying out late, lying about where I was going, and doing things I never thought I would do. I smoked cigarettes, drank alcohol, threw up every meal that I ate, cut my wrists to try to fit in with this new crowd. But the lying didn’t stop when I got where I wanted to be; it wasn’t enough.
My lies got even more outlandish. I told wild tales about a fabricated childhood molestation, I bought actual drugs just so I could carry them around with me. I even lied in my diary. I wrote about using cocaine, about elaborate suicide plans that I had tried to execute. I kept a second separate diary filled with all of the lies I had told and who I had told them to, just so I could keep it all straight. I looked at my life and couldn’t tell what was real and what wasn’t. I couldn’t even be honest with myself. I couldn’t trust my memories or my dreams; it was all lies! I wound myself up in all of these lies until it became too much to handle. I couldn’t keep track. My hands were tied. I slipped…