One of my biggest aspirations in life is to understand integrity. I don’t mean knowing its dictionary definition. I can read dictionary definitions all day1, but that doesn’t mean I understand the word’s purpose completely. I want to know its application in the lives of men, to know what it means when someone says this person’s integrity was never doubted. I try to be honest with myself and with others as much as possible. I’m not perfect, and its foolish to think I’ll ever be perfect, but that’s always how I understood the meaning of integrity to be. A person full of immutable honesty.
I’ve been told a lot in my life that I’m a good guy. That I’m trustworthy, easy to talk to, and honest. Since we’re shaped by the people we surround ourselves with, I believed them. I began to cherish this trait, and I would take great care to uphold this image my friends created for me. At least that’s how I thought of it. I doubt everything about myself. I don’t remember all the details but a few years ago when I was in college, my friends and I were going to do something special for another friend. I don’t remember if it was her birthday or what, but it was supposed to be a secret. And of course the situation came up when she asked me a question where I had to lie to her to keep this secret, and so I did. Later on, when the secret was revealed and she realized I had a hand in it, she told me that she couldn’t believe I lied to her. It was a white fucking lie, but I did lie nonetheless. I still feel bad about it. I used to lie profusely when I was younger, mostly because I liked crafting the lie and getting away with it. It meant the lie worked, that it was believable. Lying is fiction, and I love writing fiction. No matter how hard I try to be as honest as I possibly can, though, I will always have my doubts because of the life I’ve led.
I’ve lied before, and I know I will lie in the future. Yet I still aspire to lead a life of integrity. As I understand it, that means living honestly. It means being hard on myself, especially when I know I’m giving myself bogus excuses to not do something when I know if I just start, the doing of it will be easy. It means being honest with the people in my life. Most of them like me for who I am so lying seems pointless to me. If they don’t like the truth, I guess they can just go fuck themselves. It also means living a life that I want to lead, and that’s not dictated by anyone else. If you offer me a drink, I will say no. If you tell me to live a little, I will tell you I’m living a lot. It means being true to who I want to be and coming closer toward becoming the man I know I can be.
Yet I still don’t know what the fuck integrity means. That’s where goal #3 comes in: start building the framework to what my personal philosophy can be. This obviously needs a lot more thought. That’s what I have the next three weeks for.
I especially like Webster’s definition from the 1913 Unabridged Dictionary: the state or quality of being entire or complete; moral soundness; freedom from corrupting influence or motive. Also, in 2011, I read the fucking dictionary. ↩︎