Natural Born Liars

Secret Eaters, a Ch4 programme about overeating, is deep stuff. It should be wrong on every level – morbidly obese families and couples defiantly stating that they don’t eat enough to feed a small kitten and can’t figure out why they are having to order pants from the US. Vague stories about thyroids, conspiracy theories about hidden calories and shrugging of fat shoulders set the scene. Crashing through our internal speakers we hear the lyrics “you did it to yourself, you did” and the sound of a digital scaffold being set up. What follows is then 45 minutes of humiliating secret filming of what people are really shoving into their bodies. Sugar, lard, booze and car parts. Mechanical chomping in front of the telly a profound commentary on UK home life.


A few weeks ago a mother responsible for feeding a massive family saw herself secretly filmed consuming enough fast food for four in one sitting, topped up with 12, yes 12 pints of cider a day. As the footage was being shown I hid behind my hands and started whimpering, my own sense of pride scuttling into a corner at how she bear the secret footage. True, she looked devastated but then she just said “well, it’s where I am and now I’ve got to get myself out of this. You’d better help me.”


Silence. Sound of old fruit and fridges being hurled from the gallery? No my friend, that is the sound of awe and me sobbing gently at the pure beauty of the woman. The world turned and did a cosmic high five. This queen amongst 5ft2” women had taken it on the chin, swallowed hard and turned it round. All on telly.


Another remarkable woman, Professor Angie Hart who is our guru in The Resilience Space summed up a life time of working with disabled kids and their families in one sentence.


Start where you are.


That’s technically just four words but this is the basis of what I know about building my own resilience. Until I knew where I was located on the map of life, I couldn’t even start to find the trail home. Sometimes we get lost somewhere up a psychic mountain and literally don’t know where we are. This means that it’s very hard to make the next step, and in my case required the work of a psychic Sherpa, actually a team of them, to help me start the journey back to being who I really am (emphasis on the start, because I’m currently located somewhere in Kyrgyzstan and some way from the rolling hills of South East England).


This is because we are natural born liars. It’s the hardest thing in the world for me to look at myself as I actually am. This is when it becomes really sneaky because it’s not just a question of not-knowing things, it’s the elaborate construction of a rococo façade to throw you off the scent. Because of this inbuilt deception, we need other people to act as psychic detectives and work out what is not being said and what we can’t allow ourselves to know. That’s why being in relationships is essential to growing up, and so very very irritating at times.


This makes the selection of our psychic sherpas rather important because it’s on the basis of their honesty and love that we find the trail home. Being loved means allowing someone else to see us. This love can come from the usual suspects we marry, childhood friends, family members, c0-conspirators and collaborators. But there’s also a whole world of wonderful random strangers who see something and have the confidence to tell us. Next time someone tries to tell you something about yourself don’t panic, try to stand still, swallow and take it on the chin. This is the difference between delusion and knowing where you really are on the map of life.

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