Rumours and Doubt: When the Truth Doesn’t Matter

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Lana* is a crazy bitch – one hell of an incompetent and promiscuous mom who should be monitored with her son. The charming and seemingly hurt father of her child has implanted suspicions, which are confirmed by the despondent moments Lana may have had in his presence. Like the time she screamed and burst into tears, as he closed the passenger side window on her retreating wrist, and proceeded to drive off.

I identify with Lana’s helplessness and rage, while remembering a time when I would constantly worry. A time when, like her, I was painted in the public eye, as a young mom who didn’t know her ass from her elbow. A time when I let the untruths thrive, because the other option was to turn into ‘the bitter woman’.

Lana is the opposite of the rumours about her, but – in trying to protect her son – she is forced to bite her tongue. If you arrive after her wrist has been released from the car door snag, all you would witness is a hysterical woman. You just might think, “Crazy bitch!”

I can safely say that before my mid-twenties, when all hell broke loose, I never worried about what people could say about me.

I’m the best mom in the universe. I am a crazy bitch. I make good art. I am a survivor of a bad situation…of a pessimist. These are some of my publicly attributed personas.

I can safely say that before my mid-twenties, when all hell broke loose, I never worried about what people could say about me. That was before that drama-filled time of my life, when I learned that rumours don’t always crudely parade. Sometimes, they smile shyly to your face, while kicking the back of your head.

And I crumbled. I had built an entire personality founded on the pursuit of truth, on the preservation of character, and always held the person I was committed to being in high esteem. What about you? What truths do you cling to about yourself? How difficult would it be if you suddenly found out that no one believed those truths?

What if you’re blamed for a co-worker’s mistake, if you’re labelled the horner man, when your girlfriend was the one cheating…

What if you’re blamed for a co-worker’s mistake, if you’re labelled the horner man, when your girlfriend was the one cheating, or if the colour of your skin made people think that you always had things easy?

We can become so attached to our perception of ourselves that the risk of a destroyed reputation may not only enrage or disillusion us, but, depending on the situation, we can begin to doubt ourselves, even when we know the offending words and thoughts are false.

My friend Lana is an awesome mom. I use that word in the same way my daughter does…AWEHSOMMMEE!

Lana accepted a job with less status to afford more time with her son, providing love and care 24/7. She also uses every muscle in her face to smile and laugh around him, hiding the torturous text messages, obscene phone conversations, and threats.

Yet, as I spoke to her, it was like talking to the old me.

“You’re not a bad mom,” I said. “You’re not a slut or irresponsible just because you’re in a new relationship. You’re not crazy.”

She knows the person saying these things about her is the crazy one, but months of continuous barraging can probably frazzle the best of nerves.

The best advice I gave her is something I myself rejected some years ago. It had actually pissed me off at the time.

The truth doesn’t matter. It really doesn’t.

…if people believe that I’m a bitch, and I am not, how is this going to hurt me, unless I allow it to?

This is because the truth can change, it can be interpreted, and it should only be regarded as important if it serves a purpose outside of damaged ego. For example, if people believe that I’m a bitch, and I am not, how is this going to hurt me, unless I allow it to? I may lose potential friends, but then maybe I should consider myself fortunate. After all, anyone who judges you based on anything short of their personal experience with you should be regarded with caution.

And just for information’s sake, most people are gullible to believe what they hear about others. So the truth is only important to the person pursuing or struggling with it. If I know I am not a bitch – even if no one else knows – then it’s okay.

But that’s not fair! I know. I pursued ‘fair’ for years too. A few minutes of the nightly news will confirm that fair may not exist either. Or rather, it is of no importance.

I am not suggesting that you allow others to run your good name into the mud, and shake their hands. Some slander can be chuckled over, and some can’t. By all means stand up for yourself, and set things straight. I am more focused on the internal attitude, or the acceptance that even with your most genuine efforts, the truth may remain elusive.

Have you ever tried to fight your own cause and lost? Trying to disprove a well-tailored rumour can be as easy as convincing someone that pigs fly, and that the aliens are coming. It can suck your energy, and do more harm than good.

While ‘fighting it down’, you can appear to be a liar, leaving you more dissatisfied than before. What’s worse is that you may even begin to believe what others say about you.

Ironically, past rumours about me were formed because an ex of mine was paranoid about what others may have assumed was the cause of our breakup – an assumed truth. Convinced that people would judge him, he was determined to make them judge me instead.

Regardless of the situation, the fact remains that there will be times when you cannot do anything about what people say or think about you. That nothing you do or say can change the minds of those ‘eating the chain up’. At those moments, it may take all you have left, but learn to let go. Learn to feel comfortable, because you know the truth, and that because of this simple fact, where everyone else is concerned, the truth doesn’t matter.

* Name changed to protect identity.

Image via examiner.com

Jaime Lee Loy

Jaime Lee Loy is a local contemporary artist and published writer of fiction. This single mom founded Trinidad Home Studio Ltd in 2011, offering her services in photography and video. With a genuine interest and past experience in working with NGOs, this single mother steers her creativity towards human-focused projects, and aims to be successful or die trying.

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