Throughout high school and into college, it would have been entirely accurate to describe me as a pathological liar. Lies were my truth. I had fabricated a reality and told lie upon lie upon lie to to manipulate those around me and make myself appear a certain way. I was kind of like a less-murderous version of Lelouche, but instead of geass, I used my believability to deceive friends and acquaintances into accepting things about me that were untrue. They mostly believed me, I think, and I even sometimes believed the falsehoods myself.
I came out of this phase of my life—no surprise here—after I started really trying to live out my identity in Christ. But though long ago now, the years I spent in the above state left an interesting mark: because I was a liar (and am naturally a good judge of character), I’ve become adept at weeding them out. And so it took me no time at all to determine that an Instagrammer, who was trying to use our account to get followers for herself, was lying, lying, lying.
Rosie messaged me excited to engage in conversation with Holly (the co-administrator of our account) and myself—no problem there, as I invite people to get to know us, even if they’re really just trying to get me to promo them. I appreciated that she was crafting unique content for her Instagram, and she was really working it to try to forge a relationship with our blog, so I followed her back. But then, she did something strange. During our conversations, she told me she was Korean. That struck me as odd (she didn’t look or talk like any Korean I’ve ever known), but I gave her the benefit of the doubt. Soon, we started chatting about Korean food—she didn’t know much about that topic, though she claimed to—and I began typing to her in Korean, and she couldn’t interpret it, even though my language skills are very elementary-level. I tried to give her an out, but she again asserted that she was Korean.
And that was it. I had enough. Any grace that was in me was replaced instead by rage. How dare this girl waste my time? How dare she try to manipulate me? How dumb does she think I am?
I was super upset. I only have so much time to use to engage people, to get to know them, to build relationships—I didn’t have time to squander on someone who was using me to advance her weird Korean narrative.
So what did I do? I unfollowed her of course. And I barely responded to her messages afterwards. That’s the obvious thing to do to someone who’s a pathological liar…who absolutely wastes people’s time…who takes others good intentions and tries to manipulate them…like I did…when I was her age…before I changed…by being forgiven for my wrongs…to later become far more than I was.
The thing is, though I believe in the idea that we all achieve some level of equality by all being undeserving, the connection between that belief and real life circumstances doesn’t always make it across in my brain. Even when it does, sometimes, I’m unwilling to live by that conviction. I’d rather stick my chest out and come down hard on others with judgment, prideful advice, and even vengeance.
I’m not sure right now if I’ll follow Rosie’s account again and try to reach out to her, committing to the hard work of separating lies from fiction. I won’t for now, at least. But most unusually, I can say that I’m glad Rosie lied to me, for how else would I remember how habitual of a liar I once was, and by what other means would my conceit have spilled out? And for that, I’m grateful, and realize that maybe my time wasn’t wasted after all.