I went through a spot of time, as a youngster, where I would lie about everything. And worse, I was one of those children who felt confident in holding close to the lies I told, defying anyone to prove me wrong. I can’t even begin to tell you, the trouble that brought on as I grew up. My poor parents—they really were Saints as they walked me through the growing pain: One that should be useless, but has served me over and over in life.
One might call me a stickler about truth today. Sure, I am aware, there can be more than one, depending on the paths we’ve traversed; but regardless, if you speak your truth—you’d better believe it is the truth. But, to deliberately lie about something serves the joker—and no one wants or needs to be the butt-end of their own jokes. It took me 22 years to learn that.
Now you might think this is a thank you note to my Mother and Father, and I suppose in a way, it could be, but for my purpose right now, it’s about choosing to change. Whether it is a point of view; a taught truth; or a chosen truth… we have a lot of wiggle room. Short of essential virtues in life; we all can change our own rules, any time we choose. That means, from something we have said to something we are wearing. We can reinvent ourselves at any given times. It’s as easy as a haircut.
As a youngster, I lied to my Father about cleaning and filling up the water trough for Buffy the Jersey Cow. One I entrusted as my beloved pet; one I spoke with in the early Oregon mornings; commiserated with in evening’s chill. She was my faithful companion for 8 years. Anyway, back to the watering trough. I wanted to go shopping with my neighboring girlfriend and her Mother, who lived across the way. I went to ask my Father if I could go and his first question was, “Did you clean and fill up Buffy the Jersey Cow’s trough?” Knowing full well I hadn’t and if I told my Father that, I wouldn’t be allowed to go shopping, I quickly and confidently said “Yes”.
I worried the full 2 hours I was in town with my neighbors. Not only about telling my Father this lie, but about Buff. All alone, penned, not allowed out with the herd of Angus; I was her only life-line in many ways. Prepared to come home and apologize to my Father for the lie and prepared to take the lick and more importantly, prepared to help Buffy: I couldn’t get home fast enough.
Dad, by that time, napping in his favorite old corduroy recliner, laid there in his favorite flannel shirt; golden and tattered old nylon vest, blue jeans and his favorite socks… snoozing soundly. As I tip-toed past him, to go and change my clothes to take care of the trough, I heard, “Robin, Come here for a second.” Blood rushing from my face, hoping he didn’t know I lied to him so I could clean the trough before I cleaned my conscience, he asked me why I lied to him about Buffy’s old watering hole??? I did a quick giddy-up of words and he immediately stopped me. He then said again, why did you lie to me? For the first time in my life, I saw disappointment in his tired face; and I felt as if I had let down my old faithful comrade, Buffy. I looked Dad straight in the eye and told him: “I’m sorry; I don’t have any good excuse. I was being selfish and thoughtless and I know you’re disappointed. Please forgive me.” (That last sentence may be a little sugared-up, now that I read through it—but, I’m close)
My Father and I had one of our finest conversations that evening. I learned the thrill of change. I learned, that I wasn’t bad; I wasn’t some huge old sinner; but I was a girl trying desperately to find a girl I wanted to be and for possibly the very first time, I realized, a liar wasn’t the title I wanted. I remember crying–Daddy holding me–and at the end of the conversation, he softened and looked at me so intensely, I felt a-squirm of pure love and heard: “Now, let’s just stop this lying, it’s as easy as a choice—like your favorite dessert; your favorite friend; this time, be your own friend and make a change.”
He gave me plenty to think about, as I stooped over and cleaned that old bathtub, we put out there for Buff’s trough. I think I cried even more, because I couldn’t explain to Buff, why I had turned my back on her—leaving her in the hot sun, with only a partial roof over her head for shade and dry trough. I will never forget it. Never. It changed me; it changed every one of my relationships going forward—and to this day, I am reminded of the empowerment found in telling the truth—not only to the one you are addressing but to yourself, as well. I have come to finally realize, if I don’t like something I can make a change, to my liking. It’s much simpler than I would ever have imagined.
I wrote this poem, 7 years ago. It’s still a favorite of mine; it’s my conscience reminding me, just make a choice—think a bigger thought—lend gravity for what could be better than what choice I am making now. I would be a liar, if I said, Dad’s not somewhere in this poem; a bigger liar, if I said I wasn’t grateful.
Change the diaper; change your mind
While in the darkness, don’t be blind.
Change your name; change your sex
Change the way you cast the hex.
Change in pockets; change of heart,
Change the locket’s key to start,
The way you change and look at things.
Change your pay and what it brings.
Change another’s mind in part,
Change the cupcake to a tart.
Change the color on your page.
Change the way you speak and gauge…
Your change in life, your change in thought,
Change the mighty curse you’ve caught.
Change the chair; then change the paint;
Change your world from what it ain’t.
Change your choice of currency
By what you hold, then set it free.
Change the color of your eyes,
Tell the truth and lose the lies.
Change it all, who gives a darn?
Spin your story like a yarn.
Change is good, it’s never bad.
Change your sadness in to glad.
Change is more than just a dime
It lends a color: enriches time.
It’s meant for all and all for one.
Change your message; drop your gun.
Change your aim, a sure-fire way,
To change the outcome of your day.
Change the rhythm of your life
Sharpen up your carving knife.
Cutting through the fog and fuss
Change the reason to discuss…
The needs you have, desires too
Change your storm to skies of blue.
Change the whitecaps to the calm,
As the seer reads your palm.
Changing keeps the soul alive
It’s beauty, like the Swallow’s dive.
The change is always up to you:
A tincture in a witch’s brew…
Blends for good or for control
Fly toward the light; jump down a hole.
Change will always bring you worth;
The constant wonder of rebirth.
And in the stillness of your time,
Change will be there, so sublime.
Change your britches; change your skirt
Change will heal you from your hurt.
From cocoon to butterfly
Change prepares us all to die.
Change is crafty, change is smart
Changes sculpt the finest art.
Change with grace and no regrets
Turn your back to useless threats.
Change your tune, and change the key
Change the blossom for the bee.
Change the tail that wags the dog;
And be the prince which was the frog.
Change of seasons; change of guards,
You roll the dice or change the cards.
Change your shoes and change your socks,
You’ve sprung ahead so change the clocks.
The times are changing, yes indeed.
Don’t live like sheep just take the lead.
For change in you will change it all.
Change for better; it’s your call.