These days it seems as if one value is constantly coming into question &

to be honest, or not to be honest? Whether we remove honesty from our lives to protect others or to protect ourselves, one way or another the decision always seems to come back to haunt us.




In a teenagers life, whether to be honest or not is a constant dilemma. Do you tell your parents the truth about where you are going on Friday night? Do you admit to your teacher the real reason you don't have your homework finished? And perhaps the most difficult question, do you tell people how you really feel even if you know they won't like what you have to say?




This is high school, after all. Rumors swarm through the air ready to attack at any moment, while the truth finds itself crushed beneath a lack of interest. The truth is boring, the truth is personal, and the truth hurts. Being honest can unearth powerful emotions inside us, and maybe high school students just aren't ready to look that deep yet. Besides, what we don't know won't hurt us, right?




Perhaps, but we teens can't run from the truth for the rest of our lives.




MANIFESTATION OF DISHONESTY




The dishonesty in high school does not always come in the form of a rumor or a lie.




For instance, most people who have been picked on in their lives have been told in their misery that the bully is the one for whom they should feel sorry. Deep inside, this bully must have horrible secrets they cannot escape unless they are cruel to others, victims are told. Although difficult to hear in a time of anger and pain, this statement rings true of many bullies.




Psychologists call this outward manifestation of internal aggression 'projection,' which is deemed a defense mechanism to help people cope with things that they cannot handle. Of course it is never acceptable to bully others, but if students are bullied at home then sometimes redirecting their anger towards fellow students seems to them to help cope with their own pain.




But no matter how much we project our feelings, suppressing the truth is not going to make it any less true.




HONESTY AMONG FRIENDS




Each day at school I see smaller scale examples of this unpredictable defense mechanism. People insecure with their own appearances scoff at others who seem comfortable with theirs while people who are lonely sneer at those surrounded by friends. As everyone denies their insecurities and projects them on one another it becomes harder and harder to stay out of the line of fire. It is, at last, when the people that we consider friends begin to fire at us that things become the most difficult.




Even if you care about someone, despite all of their faults and insecurities, you can only deal with being hurt by those you love for so long. Eventually, no matter how much you understand someone's pain and reason for acting the way they do, it can be tiresome when they project this pain on you. No one can know all of the right answers but it seems that if we cannot even be honest with the people closest to us in high school, how can we ever expect to get by in the real world?




is a senior at Ashland High School.