I lift my head up from the mud
Just enough so eyes can blink
I make sure no one sees my gun
As I rise onto the brink
My steps avoid these fallen leaves
Their crackles bring attention
My face disguised with dampened greens
That mask my real intention
The camouflage lets me blend in
And make my way unseen
But it fatigues my mind within
And weakens pressured knees
I grab a branch to bridge the gorge
Hand over hand with hands still wet
I slip and hurtle down with force
Plunging into shallow depths
I find my feet and stand up tall
The icy water cleansing weight
I thank the creek that broke my fall
And ripped this mask from my face


Be honest.

If privacy is the honest withholding of information, obscurity is the dishonest representation of it. For multitudes of reasons, we find it appropriate to mislead others because we think we will be, or they will be, better off. In its most innocent form, good intentions are blemished by white lies that may build up. In its most egregious form, someone is hiding who they truly are, or worse, they have convinced themselves they are something that they are not.

A monster who doesn’t hide his face is preferred to a saint who has a mask on. It is in the abundance of truth and the absence of lies that love, support, respect, and loyalty should be sought out. When validation for any of these is chased in a fog of obscurity, their foundation is weakened. Only when someone fearlessly swims in the truth, and revels in the challenge of charting its waves, do they become a beacon of strength that can be relied upon.

Concealing pertinent information is warping the path for someone else’s discovery. If you are the sole beneficiary of the action, it will invariably negatively affect someone else. Their conclusions will be tainted with falsehoods, their journey will be marred with misdirection. The benefit you receive is certainly outweighed by the detriment to them.

There are times when temporary obscurity benefits the entire group. There are certainly situations that are improved with tact and the timely release of information. One cannot be accused of selfishly hiding something if it is not meant to be a permanent fixture. However, if the cloak of obscurity is meant to never be lifted, it most likely descended for selfish reasons.

Obscurity can manifest itself through a sense of helplessness. It may seem to be the only way to survive a dishonest environment created by someone else. When the responsibility of truth is willfully ignored by others, it is easy to fall into the same pattern. In the end, however, the burden of falsehoods will be too much to bear. What originally might have been a reaction to having no other choice will morph into a web that cannot be escaped. The truth needs no justification, it needs no maintenance, it needs no support. It stands as a pillar on its own, and instead of being one you have to carry on your back, it is one you can lean on.

This book is not about judging evil ways and decrying malicious intent. It is about describing what we naturally do even when our intentions are good. With a benevolent goal in mind, it is often an acceptable compromise to obscure something as a means to achieve that goal. You may even consider it a display of strength that such resolve is needed to weather the darkness of your actions. But, like a fragile tower of cards, the slightest wind will topple the whole thing over. Is it a display of strength that you must depend on such fragility, or is it a reflection of the weakness of your intent?


Situational Questions

  • How much time and energy do you spend on the maintenance of the obscurity you’ve created, or worry of being exposed? As time goes on, do you require further lies to keep the obscurity afloat? What other goals would you be able to focus on if the burden of dishonesty was lifted?
  • What consequences would actually arise if the concealed information was revealed? Would it only negatively affect you? If so, are you unable to take responsibility for yourself? If not, have the others affected been given a choice in the matter?


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