My heart slowed; the beats seemed to be pounding in my ears, each one more prominent than the last. I took in several shaky, shallow breaths as I listened to the muffled whispers of the girls in the next room. Their words were harsh: their subject was me. For a week, guilt had been painfully accumulating; each day at volleyball it became painstakingly harder to look my teammates in the eyes, for I knew they knew. They knew I had deceived them all, knew I had sat by and watched as my two best friends were punished for something I got away with. But what they didn’t know was that it was keeping me awake most nights, as thoughts of the party clamored in and out of my head. So it came to the day, while I listened to my teammates pick me apart, piece by piece, that I came clean. And as the apologies tumbled out, first to them, then to the coach, I felt a sense of relief. A calming tranquility enveloped me: I was free.
I believe that the truth, however immense or foreboding as it seems, is always accompanied by a better sense of self. Whereas lies can make you feel anxious, dirty, or sick to your stomach, the truth will never disappoint you. It’s like getting the shot at the doctor versus taking the medicine: the shot, like the truth, might sting at first, but it will make you feel better sooner. As Mark Twain put it, “Always tell the truth. That way you don’t have to remember what you said.” Lies culminate faster than anything else, and once you tell one, it becomes necessary to tell more and more to cover up your first mistake. Many situations could be resolved much sooner had the truth only been told from the onset. I’ve struggled with this many times, and many tears and lost privileges later, I’ve looked back and seen that the truth would have liberated me. No matter how immense or foreboding it seems, the truth will set you free.
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