Now we know what judgment day looks like.

It’s you and Oprah. If you’re going to heaven, Oprah brings out a plate of cookies and reviews your life with you on her couch. If you’ve been a monumental asshole who has bullied, lied to, and destroyed other people in order to win, then you get a hardback chair. No cookies for Lance Armstrong last night.

LanceOprah

Oprah asked: “How did you do it? Walk me through it. Pill deliveries, blood in secret refrigerators…how did it work?”

Lance Armstrong answered that it was a “very simple” mix of oxygen-supplying drugs, blood transfusions, and testosterone shots.

He left out the not so simple regime of pressuring his teammates to dope, buying off staffers to get around the drug testing, paying doctors to backdate prescriptions, suing news outlets for reporting on his doping, slandering people as prostitutes and alcoholics for speaking out, bribing top cycling officials, and insisting in interview after interview that he raced clean.

Whew. Lying is exhausting! No wonder Armstrong had to lie down on his sofa below his seven framed yellow jerseys a month after the US Anti-Doping Agency stripped him of his seven Tour de France titles. He wasn’t being an arrogant jerk when he tweeted this photo of himself in response to the USADA’s action. He was just extremely tired from fifteen long years of maintaining a lie.

And that’s the thing, isn’t it? Telling a lie is easy. We do it all the time. You say you’re going to go to a party when you know you  probably won’t. You tell someone you ain’t mad when you’re ready to bite their elbow off. In response to an inquiry regarding a certain smell, you say, “It wasn’t me!”

Lie, lie, lie. We toss them off as easily as Taylor Swift tosses off boyfriends.

But then it comes time to maintain a lie, and that takes energy. The more elaborate the lie, the more energy it takes. Consider the amount of energy – economic and psychic – white southerners have pumped into maintaining the lie that black people are inferior and a danger to whites. Creating and maintaining segregation and its progeny…very tiring. One must recline on the porch with a gin & tonic.

What Lance Armstrong did last night in Oprah’s hardback chair was acknowledge that his racing career was all a lie. As the NYTimes’ Gail Collins noted, that’s pretty damning when:

there’s not much point to Lance Armstrong, Famous Person. He has no other talents. He isn’t particularly lovable. He was once cited for using 330,000 gallons of water at his Texas home in a month when his neighbors were being asked to conserve by cutting back on their car-washing. He left his wife, got engaged to the singer Sheryl Crow. He said he broke up with Sheryl Crow because of her “biological clock.” The New York Post had him dating one of the Olsen twins.

Oh, ouch. So that’s it for Lance.

And what about you?

When it comes your turn to sit down with Oprah in the great couch in the sky, what elaborate lie about your life are you going to have to fess up to?

Now, queerfitters are not prone to the Armstrong kind of lie: boastful, striving, pretending to be more than you are. Quite the opposite. The lies we tend to tell ourselves are of us not being good enough, smart enough, rich enough, or enough enough to do what we’ve been put on this earth to do. We tell ourselves:

  • No one loves me (or its variation: I have to keep doing __ or else no one will love me).
  • I’m doing my best.
  • I can’t.

Lie, lie, lie. If we then spend a ton of energy building up the elaborate apparatus it takes to maintain these lies, they become life crushing.

When Oprah interviewed Armstrong last night, she laid the foundation by starting with a series of yes or no questions: Did you ever take banned substances? Was one of those banned substances EPO? Did you ever blood dope or use blood transfusions?

When it’s your turn with Oprah, whether she puts you on her couch or in a hardback chair, she’s going to ask you exactly those questions you most don’t want to answer, and she’s going to ask for a yes or no answer.  So…

What are those questions Oprah’s going to ask you? Probably best to ask them of yourself now rather than waiting until judgment day.

Tomorrow at 10:00, our usual spot in the greenspace just north of the Inman Park MARTA station. It will be 41 degrees and sunny.

Between now and then, here is Marianne Williamson:

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness
That most frightens us.

We ask ourselves
Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.

Your playing small
Does not serve the world.
There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking
So that other people won’t feel insecure around you.

We are all meant to shine,
As children do.
We were born to make manifest
The glory of God that is within us.

It’s not just in some of us;
It’s in everyone.

And as we let our own light shine,
We unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we’re liberated from our own fear,
Our presence automatically liberates others.