Truth and Lies

Two Truths and a Half Lie

(in no particular order)

My mom worked in a garment factory at a sewing machine instead of going to high school.

My mom loved sewing and knitting because it gave her a sense of creating something pretty.

My mom wanted me to be pretty.

Two Truths and a Lie

I wanted to be pretty.

I wore the clothes she made for me with pride.

The mohair skirt she knitted was beautiful, but it itched my skin.

Two Lies and a Truth

I wore that mohair skirt to my first co-ed party in the eighth grade. 

I felt pretty and gained confidence at my first co-ed party.

I wanted to share the whole experience with my mom when I got home.

Two Lies and a Half Truth

Mom and I were on the same page about most things.

I wanted her approval so I went along, trying to meet her expectations.

My first co-ed party led to many more through high school.

Two Truths and Two Lies

I was a disappointment to my mom.

In rebellion, I became a party girl.

It was never about the mohair skirt.

Mom tried to live her missing youth through me.

Two Truths

Mom expressed her love through making clothes for me.

I, who didn’t care about clothes, didn’t understand; didn’t feel the love.

Here’s a truth. My mother was sent to work in a factory at thirteen. That’s where she spent her teenage years. It became what she could do and what she knew… sewing. It was how I experienced her, not as warm giver of affection and encouragement, not the source of “ I love you” s and “ I’m proud of you.” She sewed clothes for me; wanted me to be the social butterfly she never had the opportunity to be. That was my teenage experience of her.

But life is all about perception. Truths become half truths , and even, sometimes, become lies. What I perceived as a child, and especially as a teen, was colored by my own needs. Sometimes met, more often, not. Perception shifts, like desert sands, with experience, with personal growth, and cultural changes. “Spare the rod and spoil the child” becomes “go to your room for a time out, think about what you’ve done.” As I have grown into adulthood and now, maturity, I see my mom with different eyes. She did what she knew how to do. She sewed for me. Being nurtured was not her experience, how could she give that? Even if that was what I needed.

Perception. It’s a funny thing. Like a new puppy, it wiggles and squirms out of your arms just when you think you have it pinned down.
All this begs the question, then, “What is truth… if it relies on perception?” Hearts are fluid. Mine, chock full of resentment as a teen, with time changed. My perception of the truths, and half truths shifted. Continues to shift. Looking back on what I knew as facts, my truths, may not have been truths at all. I hope my sharing this causes the reader to look at their own “ truths” and see if there have been shifts. Could be shifts, brought through greater understanding. Is there room for growth, that changes perception? I hope so.

©2022 by Gail Greene Ouimet

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