Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
September 20, 2020

We all flake sometimes, and it's usually best to lie

By JHU CONFESSIONS | September 27, 2012

It has been said that “honesty’s the best policy, unless you’re good at lying.”

One of my problems is that when I say something, I mean it, but only at that specific moment. There are so many things I want to do. I’ve wanted to participate in the Putnam Competition for the past couple years. I want to be a part of various community-centered activities around campus. I want to be a regular member at tabletop gaming clubs. I really do. I tell people that I want to show up. And then I don’t. Even this column can be difficult. (Seriously, ask the editor of Hip Hop. She has to hunt me down.)

I’m not exactly a flake. I get stuff done. But unless there is a real check on me, I kind of flop stuff to the side. The only thing I can get done consistently is homework. But because I want to do homework well, everything else seems to fall away. I have a huge assignment due every Monday as well as an essay in a foreign language on Sunday, so I forget to get my article in over the weekend. As soon as I turn in the Monday assignment, I have to start working on my Thursday assignment.

Math homework is ridiculous. I spend so much time staring at a problem that I forget to eat and I forget other homework. I forget to do everything except for my math homework. I spend all of my time trying to figure out why a set is compact or why a function is measurable. Things have gotten so bad that I’m going to actually drop a class to be able to breathe. Hear that, editor?

Things should be getting better. And I do want to be better about getting things in. I really do. But I forget about the deadline until I’m half-asleep in bed, feeling like I’ve forgotten something.

“The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”

I have found that there are times when lying is best. When I’m honest with people (I was exhausted, I forgot, I had too much homework, I was having a seriously bad day), they knock it aside. I had a kid in my class last year who didn’t want to go to class, so he made up a story about his dishwasher breaking and there being water on the floor. He said that he had to stay home and wait for a plumber. He got away with it. But if there’s a day when I’ve had a nightmare that has triggered my anxiety and I am too terrified to get out of bed, people like to say, “Oh, she was probably just up late and is feeling lazy.”

So mostly, I’m really sorry to all you people I said I would help. Don’t ever apologize for hounding me about getting stuff done. Editor, you do a wonderful job, and I’m sorry I’ve made things difficult. Math Club, I do intend to show up at some point. I just also need to make sure I can pass my classes, eat food and remember to take my meds in the morning.

I try to be honest, but some people would rather believe some dramatic story than believe for a second that you’re human and sometimes life sucks in simple ways. Being late to class because you woke up late is not an excuse, I know. But what about mental breakdowns? Or talking a friend down from suicide or hurting themselves? Yeah, those should count. Hangovers don’t.

Even I don’t know where I was going with this rant. It’s a combination of an apology to my editor and a reminder to myself that I need to make sure I can pull myself together and get my homework done.

Life is complicated when you’re honest. That’s why when people ask me how I’m feeling, I lie.

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