It’s Friday morning. You wake up and look outside to find the world hidden beneath a blanket of white. No sun in sight. The dew from last night still clings to the blades of grass on your lawn and the lawns of your neighbors. You get up and get dressed. A cup of coffee, black, and a cup to go and you’re out the door. It’s a short trip from the front door of your house to the door of the building where you work, but during that time you flirt with the feelings that you’re so stubbornly suppressing: the person you hold most dear in this world is about to leave it.
Mechanically, you park your car, ascend the seven flights of stairs to your floor and make a beeline to your office. Not for the first time, you regret the glass walls that surround you. Before long, a friend pokes her head in and asks how you are. You pause briefly, considering your options before halfheartedly smiling through a, “I’m good.” Your response is warranted as the appropriate one so she ignores your answer and proceeds to describe the intense anguish she suffers over a pair of ruined heels.
Flash forward a few hours later to your lunch break. Same girl, only this time she’s talking about last night’s date and how there was literally no time to talk because the restaurant was cramped and the crowd clamorous. You feel you’ve outdone yourself, impressed by your ability to appear interested with a mind that’s 350 miles away … at a hospital … at the bedside of one particular patient.
Lunch is over and the two of you part ways. She says something about getting together this weekend and you agree, knowing full well she doesn’t mean it. You never see her outside of work. With that, you’re left to yourself and you busy yourself in business.
During the drive home, you find yourself thinking about honesty and how it seems to have lost its value. We ask questions we don’t care about hearing the answers to, so we give answers that are less than truthful. Because truthfulness is not the virtue it once was, we find ourselves overemphasizing the validity of our words. It “literally” happens and we “seriously” do it. Then the promises we make are hollow and we find ourselves hearing and saying words without meaning. In order to prove ourselves earnest, we swear on something we hold sacred. The weight of our words has been lessened, their meanings often proved less than honest.
Because truthfulness is not the virtue it once was, we find ourselves overemphasizing the validity of our words.
Upon contemplation, you decide that an integral part of being a decent human being is being a woman of your word. You desire to be a woman who means what she says because she says what she means. Authenticity, you realize, is important and sincerity is consequential. You’ve found that the truth about honesty is that it’s necessary. And the more you ruminate, the more you realize that it’s time to be honest with yourself, too. So you book yourself a red-eye to the city with the hospital with the patient you know you need to be with and begin to accept the fact that it’s time to say goodbye.
It’s Friday night. The plane takes off and you feel the wheels as they leave the runway and lift you up into the night sky. You watch out your window as the plane passes through the clouds and into the clarity of the evening. Above the clouds, where the moon is bright and the stars are kissable, you regain your perspective.
How can you be a woman who means what she says and says what she means?
Image via Connor Reeves