Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Guest blogger -- Katherine Garbera

We interrupt our regularly scheduled program for a special guest.

I met today’s guest blogger at my very first RWA conference in Dallas in 2004. She (and Rocki St. Claire) told me how to breathe life into a dying scene. She does it well. I’m still working on how to tilt the story’s head back, pinch its nose and inflate its lungs. Please make room in the swings for Katherine Garbera.

Living the Lie

We all know that telling a lie is wrong but we all still do it anyway. I'm not talking about big lies, but the little small white lies that we tell friends, acquaintances and even sometimes ourselves. Lies have a way of just becoming accepted sometimes. And in most cases that's okay. But in some situations it can end up hurting you.

I was married for 17 years before I found out I was living a lie. Not a big lie that would hurt anyone but a lie that I had been telling myself. I had the "perfect" husband--everyone said so and that was the lie. I knew that my husband wasn't perfect and that beyond the façade of our marriage it wasn't solid. Yet at the same time I didn't want to let on to anyone that it was less than perfect.
I'd made this image of a nice family where everyone was exactly as they were supposed to be and after a while it was hard to say things aren't working out. Or my life isn't what I've been pretending.

Now this lie didn't hurt least I don't think it did. I think that most of us are telling little lies to ourselves to keep up the façade of being happily married or happily employed or whatever other role you are pretending at. I think that most of us are living a lie of some kind or another because in our society we are judged by what we are good at and frowned on by our failures.

A perfect case to prove this is the fact that two of my neighbors stopped talking to me when I got divorced. I no longer fit in on our street or in their eyes in a neighborhood. I didn't have a husband to fill out the party partnering that happens in suburban American. Does that mean that I shouldn't have been lying to myself all those years?

I don't know.

I think this is one of those situations--the lies we all live--that is a necessary evil. I think if we are true with ourselves and admit that our lives aren't perfect and if we can somehow become okay with it then maybe we can move on...I mean me--maybe I can move on.

But letting go of perfection is hard.

This is something I've been exploring in my writing. My upcoming book from Brava THE PIRATE features heroine Daphne Bennett and she had been living the lie of a perfection marriage with the perfect children until her husband pulled the rug out from under her and let the world know that all wasn't as peachy as it had seemed.
She is facing her summer alone as her kids are going to their dad's and she needs to escape. So she volunteers with Doctors Across Waters and heads off to Somalia finding more of an adventure than she expected to.

Writing about Daphne gave me a chance to explore some of my feelings about my marriage and marriages in general. I still don't have the answers but I think that I'm getting closer to them.

What about you, are you living a lie? Do you think that we all are in some way?

I have two copies of ARCs of THE PIRATE to give away to two blog participants today.

P.S. You can find out more about Katherine and her books (she also writes for Silhouette Desire and HIS ROYAL PRIZE is a May release from Desire) at her website, And OMG is the guy on her cover not H-O-T?!?!?


susanwilson44 said...

I had this conversation about lies the other day. My five year old told me an obvious lie - "No I didn't eat the chocolate" - it was smeared all over his face. Two minutes later he told us another one re a fight with his older brother. It was the first time he's really told any obvious lies. So my other half and I sat him down and had a chat with him about telling lies. he sat and dutifully listened before announcing "you both tell lies all the time!" We were horrified before he stated matter-of-factly "Mum you say you'll be 5 minutes when you to go to the shops and you always take HOURS" and "Dad you say you won't be late when you go to the pub but you always are". We were speechless. Rumbled by a five year old. I'm going to try a whole day without a single lie - anyone else fancy the challenge?

Playground Monitor said...

First, thanks Kathy, for being so open with us today. I'm going through a divorce right now and I understand how difficult it is. I'd comment more but my husband insisted I sign a non disclosure agreement so my lips are sealed.

Today is actually my 37th wedding anniversary. I won't lie and tell y'all I'm okay because I'm not. I won't list all the emotions because I don't want to bore you. I'm sure folks are tired of hearing about Marilyn's divorce, especially since it's been going on for nearly a year now.

I agree that letting go of perfection -- or the illusion of it -- is difficult. It has been for me. But I've been blessed with a supportive family, a terrific circle of friends, a great therapist and a divorce recovery group that's helped me work through a lot of the grief associated with the end of my marriage relationship.

I spent last weekend with a group of people at a divorce recovery program. I heard over and over from others who thought things were perfect, who'd been told lies, who told lies to maintain that facade you talk about. I'm interested to read how you've tackled this subject in your book.

So while I'm not completely okay, I'm better. And as long as I'm putting one foot in front of the other and moving forward, I will be okay one day.

runner10 said...

I don't feel like I am living a lie. I am a very private person. Who wants to show all their cards?

Your book looks great!!!

Katherine Garbera said...

Susan: my son was always like that too. He's 13 now but he still has this gift for just telling things the way they are--always the complete truth. Its hard sometimes dealing with a kid like that but it does keep you honest!

Good luck in your challenge. :)

Kathy :)

Katherine Garbera said...

Marilyn-hugs. As you know I've been in your shoes and it still is a one day at a time thing to get better at coping with everything. I hope you have a good day today and celebrate everything about yourself and the woman and mother you are.

Katherine Garbera said...

runner10--okay I see your point about keeping things close to the chest. I think there is something to said for that! :) Thanks for the comment about the book!

Kathy: )

Smarty Pants said...

I think so many of us spend time trying to fit in that we eventually lose sight of whats a lie and what isn't. Most of my lies are simply by omission. I've learned that living in the south, for example, that I should simply not discuss my political or religious views, or even my thoughts on college football. It creates unnecessary tension because people get so passionate about it, so I just keep it to myself. Around here, its like sharks. Once they identify you as an outsider, they start circling like they smell blood. People can turn on you like the flip of a switch, especially as the political environment gets more tense, or we get near the Iron Bowl. :)

The truth is that I'm a tree-hugging, monkey-wrenching, uber-liberal, new-age/pseudo-pagan who thinks the hoopla over sports in general is silly, but college sports even more so. So yeah, I just stay quiet. The less you talk about it, the less it seems like a lie. I guess I've lost my own passion for most of those views, though I've chalked most of that up to getting older and mellowing out.

I think that's enough disclosure for one day.

Jeanette said...

A lie is a lie, as Susan's son so blatantly illustrated, but I do believe there's a difference in lies told to hurt or deceive (the man who tells his wife he's working late when in fact he's having an affair with a neighbor)and a lie meant to not hurt (Oh no, Janie, those white pants do not make your ass look big). They are both still lies, but the intent is far different.

I try to live an authentic life and hope God knows what's in my heart. It's a struggle.

Challenge on, Susan!

Heather *Rae* Scott said...

ZOMG! Yes, the guy on the cover is Smokin' Hot!

As for your post, I think a lot of women are going to relate to everything you said. My lie was, 'things are going to get better, they have too. I'll stay because it benefits my kids. His mother and family are going to let up eventually because everyone likes me. After all, every ex boyfriend's mother adored me."

Lies...lies...and more lies...followed by more because my ex husband still has a lot of growing up to do.

Susan, my kids have 'rumbled' us on that very topic. Never realized they realized we were telling them white lies--not on purpose mind you.

Marilyn, I am sooo sorry you're going through this! Allow yourself to mourn. I liken divorce to death because you loose a piece of yourself and have to grow a new one back and the majority of the time, it's stronger and better. Hang in there!

Valerie said...

I believe you are right we are all living a lie on some level. We begin to tell that little lie to ourselves because it makes it easier to deal with the outside world. It is sad that we have to do that to cope with others and our own disappointments and needs.

Society tells us we have to be a couple to be complete. When we are a couple, then we have to be the perfect couple. Then we have to have children, and it goes on and on. I have been struggling a lot with that the past year, as a single woman who's never been married and I'm as they used to say firmly "On the Shelf". It is difficult to deal with when every one around you is in a couple and pretending that their life is perfect too. Luckily, I have some awesome friends that are very honest about what is going on with them and their partnerships. The honesty helps.

Maybe as more of us become more outspoken about our true selves it will become more the norm to disavow the lie. Letting go of the fantasy can only make us stronger.

PM's Mother said...

When my 48 year old husband died suddenly and unexpectedly 40 years ago a dear pastor told me that when God closes a door another door opens -- so I looked for the open doors. Open doors let in a lot of fresh air. Hang in there Marilyn, you'll be OK!

Playground Monitor said...

That dear pastor called me Monday afternoon because "I've just been thinking about you." He didn't know my anniversary was coming up because he didn't marry us.

Coincidence? I think not.

Anyhoo, back to our topic.

PM's Mother said...

I read a lot and I just read this -- "normal is just a word, not a state of mind, and perfection is only a concept, because reality is what we do with what we've got." Something to think about, eh?

Virginia said...

Great post! Your book sounds fabulous and I would love to read it! Yes we all live a lie a little bit! We all also tell a few sometimes just little ones! We were taught not to lie but sometimes a small lie is better then the truth!

catslady said...

I think a lot of people figure if they say something or let people think something enough times, it makes it so. Also, it's a lot easier than explaining or doing anything about it. I try to be truthful if someone asks my opinion (of course they don't always want it) but if it's something they can't do anything about, I will use the white lie so as not to hurt their feelings.
And when most people ask how you are - they usually don't want a detailed report lol.

chey said...

I think most people try not to lie, but are pushed into it a bit, to fit in, to not be rude, to not hurt someone's feelings.

Angel said...

I think the lie of perfection is one that many women live--we must be perfect wives, mothers, friends, children, etc. So we lie and tell people that everything is okay, that we feel fine, that we can handle whatever happens, when really, we could use a little help. We tell our husbands we're fine because we don't want to hurt their feelings or make them feel inadequate.

Being honest about these things isn't easy, and Lord knows I'm as far from perfect as they come, but at times I find myself still struggling with the image of perfection. Or embarrassed because it has become apparent to someone that I'm not perfect.

So my ongoing struggle is to be myself, to be who I really am whether people want to accept it or condemn it. Not easy, and I definitely pick and choose my battles, but in the long run, I think I will be happier. And I hope that my children grow up with less pressure to be "perfect" because they came from a parent that most certainly wasn't.

Angel (who in the interest of disclosure will admit that she's not an angel 90% of the time) :)

Pamela Labud said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Problem Child said...

I'm tardy -- again -- but I'm having a hard time catching up from RT!

I try not to lie simply because I'm so very bad at it. Little white lies are one thing, but anything past that and it's obvious I'm lying through my teeth. :-)

Laurie said...

I feel for all of you who are going through a divorce.

I'm not living a lie. I'm happy with my family and my life. I've tried to set a good example for my children. They have turned into respectful young adults.

I do tell little white lies but never big whoppers. They always come around to bite the one who told them!

I've been very lucky! said...

my face is a dead give away if i try to lie OY