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The Truth About Honesty💯
Let’s get real about getting real.
Happy Wednesday and happy St. Patrick’s Day, my dearest Twenty-Somethings! This week, I want to talk about the importance of being honest (see what I did there?). Let’s get real about getting real.
As a kid, I didn’t really get the whole point of honesty. I lied about what I got on my math tests, where I went after school, and about things as trivial as what I ate for lunch. Despite my parents’ best efforts in instilling in me the importance of telling the truth, I was going to do whatever I wanted. (Sorry, Susan and Jed!💗) When I got older, I straightened out a bit, if you will, but I didn’t value honesty until adulthood. Even now, being totally transparent all the time can be difficult.
I realized that being dishonest wasn’t helping anyone—least of all me. I’ve always had a sticky relationship with confrontation, and would rather be passive (or passive aggressive) than tell people how I feel directly. Maybe back in high school I would’ve had a little more ‘tude and angst regarding my opinions, but even now I see that if you use clear, open and honest communication—and remember not to take anything personally (one of the Four Agreements)—no one’s feelings should be hurt. In fact, all parties should feel a sense of relief. Whether it’s telling roommates to do their dishes or letting friends know you feel disrespected by their actions, practicing radical honesty is a skill that takes time to develop for all of us.
But, I realized, this can’t possibly be a problem that only affects me. Women are liars. All of us! But it’s not our fault. Let me explain.
Women are socialized to keep our feelings to ourselves because we feel the need to be nice. We lie because we feel responsible for hiding our feelings, so to make others feel better. In fact, a 2015 study showed that women are twice as likely to lie as men, “to make someone feel better, to avoid trouble, or to make life simpler.” The study also suggests women have a different way of processing language, with a more complex understanding of the emotion behind it, meaning women are better at (and more likely to) tell people what they want to hear. Another study found that men are twice as likely to get away with lying. Of course they are.
Now, I’m not all that surprised by these findings—and I’m sure they’re exponentially true for women of color. But let’s talk about why our natural instinct to lie only makes matters worse. Let’s get one thing straight: You owe honesty to yourself and to the people around you.
I sometimes feel guilty telling people how I really feel. Obviously, I don’t mean telling your friend she looks fat in that shirt or that you hate her boyfriend (unless you need to, but let’s not get into that right now). But look, if you have something constructive to say that others might want to know—you know a better way to slice that avocado or you have a hard time focusing when your roommate is blasting music—speak your truth. Or, if something’s bothering you and the only reason you’re not bringing it up is to avoid confrontation, let that be an easy rule of thumb that you need to speak up.
The only thing you gain from keeping your (necessary) truth hidden is inconveniencing yourself. And inconveniencing yourself for the sake of others isn’t something we’re going to do in 2021. Come on now.
It’s funny, I think the fear of being totally transparent is a very American thing. Europeans, the Dutch specifically, are notoriously blunt. They’re characterized as rude by Americans simply because they’re direct and say what’s on their mind. They have no reason to hide their opinions; it’s just a part of their culture, and what a concept that is! I imagine it’s incredibly freeing to have no concern over what others will think of what you have to say.
Anywho, let this serve as permission to practice radical honesty. I promise you, as soon as you decide you’re going to be wholeheartedly unapologetic about who you are and how you feel, you’ll feel a weight lift off of your shoulders.
With that, here are a few picks to get you through the week:
“The Blonde” by TV Girl - Live, love, TV Girl! This is one of my favorites by them, and it’s another song that makes me get up and boogie. Drive on the freeway with the windows down to this one. For me!
“Red Dye No. 2” by Ida’ye - Yet another bad girl anthem suggestion from yours truly! She wrote this one for all the thick girls, specifically. I swear, Ida’ye is going to be the next big R&B star. Mark my words!
“Got It All” by Blxst & Dom Kennedy - I’m a sucker for anything with Dom K. This vibey hit feels very old-timey to me—and pairs well with a glass of wine.
The Cut: “Sarah Everard Deserved Better Than This” - I know I’m not the only one torn up over the 33-year-old Londoner who was kidnapped and killed while walking home from a friend’s house earlier this month—allegedly, by a cop. She deserved better and she could’ve been any of us.
SFGate: “When Disneyland reopens, it's going to have even more of a privilege problem” - I love talking privilege, especially when it comes to America’s favorite pastimes. Who will be able to return to Disney? Those who can afford the tickets that are now more expensive than pre-COVID—and no longer allow for monthly payment programs for locals.
The Cut: “The Internet’s Memory of Breonna Taylor” - It’s officially been a year since Breonna Taylor was killed while sleeping in her own home. This powerful piece touches on the importance of preserving Black life without making it into a meme.
The Walrus: “Will Beauty Change When the World Comes Back?” - My mind was blown by this take on how COVID-19 has changed our perception of beauty. Our relationships with clothes, makeup, and even our bodies have changed—and so has everything else.
Tell Me Your Secrets - This thriller series was directed by the same people as The Undoing, and it’s clear as day. Far more gory than I’m typically into, and honestly pretty triggering in most aspects, but you’ve been warned. Swamp killers, memory loss and prison flashbacks, oh my!
Nomadland - Frances McDormand is my fearless leader. This quiet, slow, beautifully shot film tries to answer the question: What does “home” really mean?
If you don’t get this next one, please message me.
COSRX Acne Pimple Master Patch - My pal put me onto these, and I can’t spread the word fast enough! These are the best pimple patches I’ve ever used; they’re thick and juicy and zap any zit on the spot.
SET Active Sculptflex Box-X Bra - The sports bra of my dreams! Stretchy and comfy, but just supportive enough to get you through an hour of flow or a quick jog. Plus, every color is gorgeous.
Blackhead Pore Vacuum - Even talking about this makes me a little squeamish, but this thing works. It makes your skin super dry for a few days where you use it, but moisturize and you’re good to go! Enjoy glowing, fresh skin.
Momofuku's Soy Sauce Eggs - Marinating these delicious salty-savory bombs takes up to six hours, but it’s well worth it. Throw them in ramen, soup, salads, sandos, rice bowls—you get the gist. Whatever you do, just enjoy them.
Pan-Sautéed Lemon-Garlic Shrimp Salad - Yes, more garlic! I cooked a couple pounds of shrimp over the weekend, and I’m finding a million things to do with them. I’ve loved every bite!
“Shrinking Women” by Lily Myers
Across from me at the kitchen table, my mother smiles over red wine that she drinks out of a measuring glass.
She says she doesn't deprive herself,
but I've learned to find nuance in every movement of her fork.
In every crinkle in her brow as she offers me the uneaten pieces on her plate.
I've realized she only eats dinner when I suggest it.
I wonder what she does when I'm not there to do so.
Maybe this is why my house feels bigger each time I return; it's proportional.
As she shrinks the space around her seems increasingly vast.
She wanes while my father waxes. His stomach has grown round with wine, late nights, oysters, poetry. A new girlfriend who was overweight as a teenager, but my dad reports that now she's "crazy about fruit."
It was the same with his parents;
as my grandmother became frail and angular her husband swelled to red round cheeks, round stomach,
and I wonder if my lineage is one of women shrinking,
making space for the entrance of men into their lives,
not knowing how to fill it back up once they leave.
I have been taught accommodation.
My brother never thinks before he speaks.
I have been taught to filter.
"How can anyone have a relationship to food?" he asks, laughing,as I eat the black bean soup I chose for its lack of carbs.
I want to say: we come from difference, Jonas,
you have been taught to grow out,
I have been taught to grow in.
You learned from our father how to emit, how to produce, to roll each thought off your tongue with confidence, you used to lose your voice every other week from shouting so much.
I learned to absorb.
I took lessons from our mother in creating space around myself.
I learned to read the knots in her forehead while the guys went out for oysters,
and I never meant to replicate her, but
spend enough time sitting across from someone and you pick up their habits-
that's why women in my family have been shrinking for decades.
We all learned it from each other, the way each generation taught the next how to knit,
weaving silence in between the threads
which I can still feel as I walk through this ever-growing house,
picking up all the habits my mother has unwittingly dropped like bits of crumpled paper from her pocket on her countless trips from bedroom to kitchen to bedroom again.
Nights I hear her creep down to eat plain yogurt in the dark, a fugitive stealing calories to which she does not feel entitled.
Deciding how many bites is too many.
How much space she deserves to occupy.
Watching the struggle I either mimic or hate her,
And I don't want to do either anymore,
but the burden of this house has followed me across the country.
I asked five questions in genetics class today and all of them started with the word "sorry."
I don't know the requirements for the sociology major because I spent the entire meeting deciding whether or not I could have another piece of pizza,
a circular obsession I never wanted, but
inheritance is accidental,
still staring at me with wine-soaked lips from across the kitchen table.
Question of the week: What’s the biggest lie you’ve ever told yourself?
Thank you all for supporting me always! It means more to me than you’ll ever know. I’m always looking to improve my work, so leave a comment or send me a message about what you want to read about in the next Dear Twenty-Somethings! I’m all ears.
If you liked what you read, send this newsletter to a friend! Heck, send it to 10 friends! Sending love and light to you, wherever you are. 🌟
Cheers & happy Wednesday! And, of course, happy March, i.e., Women’s History Month! See y’all next week.
xoxoxo, Quinnie <3