Fib, cheat, prevaricate, delude; everybody lies. Whether it be tiny little white ones or jaw-droppingly huge ones. We all lie and we all keep secrets.
I am a former liar of the jaw-dropping kind. I became said liar out of shame and fear, but became it none the less. I could blame many other reasons too; pride, my past, society, media influences, Kim Kardashian… Instead, I like to blame myself – I am, after all, the person who told the lies in the first place.
Anyway, the reason I am telling you all this is to explain in a little more detail how I got to where I am now.
I first met my boyfriend and travel partner Lee on a beach in Goa in January 2008. It was the last day of my holiday and the beginning of a year long trip for him. We got on like a house on fire and exchanged details. We became Facebook friends (cue roll of eyes) and, thanks to Lee’s daily email romancing and an invite to join him in Bali, real life lovers. Yes, he had me at ‘Friend Request’. It was truly the stuff of fairytales and I felt like the picture perfect princess. Ah, l’amour.
As with all new relationships, I kept certain parts of my past to myself, intending to be revealed at a later date when I was certain Lee wouldn’t run a mile. Unfortunately when it came to the nitty-gritty, I kept one major part of myself hidden. I was in debt to the tune of £15,000 (roughly $24,000). I was so ashamed I just couldn’t bear to tell anyone – least of all the man who had me up on the most amazing pedestal.
No one knew about my debt apart from me and the bank. Accumulated over many years by doing lots of shopping, travelling and basically living beyond my means, it had become a monster I had no idea how to do battle with. It’s surprising how quickly the debt piles up and how secrets and lies take hold. And I was well and truly in its clutches.
By now it was October 2010 and Lee and I were living in a beautiful flat together. Things where rocky though and Lee could tell I was keeping something from him. So one day, wracked with nerves and vomit bag in hand, I told him.
It didn’t go down well.
To cut a long story short, we broke up a month later and I moved out. I was embarrassed, ashamed, angry and miserable. So what’s a girl to do? Get a plan. The debt had to go, and so did the lie monster. I vowed there and then to pay off my debt within a year and emerge from my financial woes a better, happier and more honest person.
And I did it. It took nine months exactly – nine months of serious hard work and sacrifice but let me tell you, it felt amazing. I retrieved my self respect and my boyfriend, and treasured my shiny clean slate.
I wish I hadn’t put myself in that position to begin with, but we all make mistakes and I can say with 100% sincerity that I have learnt from mine.