Liar, Liar…

by Lori Dwyer on July 20, 2012 · 29 comments

“You can be anything you want to be online. Why do so many people choose stupid?”

If you read this blog… do you trust me?


I’ll confess I am an inherently trusting person– trust is my default setting and I’m always shocked and hurt upon discovering I can’t trust someone in the way I thought I could. That extends to online interactions and the social medias; to blogging, to Twitter, to Internet dating.

I was accused of lying on this blog in an anonymous comment a few weeks ago. It’s not the first time I’ve been accused of lying. But it’s the first time that accusation came with no emotional undertones, no nastiness and blame. This accusation was based on my facts not adding up, mathematically.

And it just pissed off no end.

It pissed me off more that it made it’s way under my skin, when we all know most anonymous comments are fifty percent troll and twenty percent coward. But it made me seethe, sent me hurtling to defend myself– which is, of course, the best way to make yourself look like you are deceiving someone.

Anyway. I wasn’t. And I think it annoyed so much because, dammit, I have done nothing but told the raw truth in this space for the last eighteen months. And I’ve bled for it, been flagellated not only by strangers but by people who I once thought loved me. And I’ve stuck firm, held my head up high, cried a thousand tears… and kept writing.

After all that, why would I lie about something so simple, when the story without it would have been enough…? When it was so dramatically coincidentally that it sounded like a fable anyway?

Do I not have enough drama on my blog already?

Whatever. The irony of it is such a kick in the head. I remember, somewhere in the murky haze of those first few days After, waiting with a sliding paranoia for someone to accuse me of lying, call me a troll. Again, it was a story so remarkable that it almost seemed fiction, and I wouldn’t be surprised, nor would I blame anyone for it, if there had been a few covert enquiries made to ensure I was telling the truth.

The further we trek into the After, the less I worry about that– it never crosses my mind, to be honest. Surely, the work involved in carrying on such a long, arduous second life would surely be too monstrous to attempt.

Then I read this article and that theory was blown out right out of the interwebs.

Emily Dirr pretended to be someone else for eleven years. Apparently- if you can believe anything at all in this particularly twisted destined-to-become urban myth- she grew with the Internet, from LiveJournal to MySpace to FaceBook, weaving a story that seemed plausible. How many bloggers do you know with extended, blended families; living lives so very different from your own? Isn’t that why we read other people’s blogs to begin with?

The story of J.S. Dirr, the digital entity Emily created, only untangled when reality bulged just that little too far past the boundaries of normal. After Dana Dirr, wife and mother to their nineteen children (step, adopted, fostered and natural) was run over on Christmas Eve, while pregnant with another child, on her way to work as a life–saving trauma surgeon…. someone took a closer look.

I can’t imagine why, really. Even compared to my story, that seems totally plausible.

Back when I first began blogging- when I was fresh meat at the time and had no real bearing on what was happening- there were a few women I knew on Twitter who, it came out, were duped by another blogger they believed they had supported through both a coma and chemotherapy. Even without knowing the finer details, and only just beginning to form friendships with the innocent parties, the sense of hurt and betrayal when this woman’s house of cards fell down was palpable.

They tell you not to believe everything you read, especially here online where identities are only as good as an email address and you can be whoever you please. Don’t we all someone who just doesn’t seem to add up, who gives you that funny ringing in the back of your mind that something is just not right…?

I’ve said before, good blogging is good story telling, and that involves omitting some details and emphasizing others. But that’s as far as it should go, surely. I know of at least one blogger who is happy to state her blog is thirty percent truth, seventy percent fiction– isn’t that pushing the balance of entertaining people with your truth and lying to them a bit too far?

It’s a rock and a metaphorical hard place. It’s not cynical, just practical and logical, to be aware that some people simply don’t have the sense of morals or truth or ethics (call it self–righteousness, for sure) as me or you might possess. It’s not something I like– my husband often accused me of living in some kind of fairy land where everyone was inherently good and people could be trusted– but that’s life, and forgetting that seems to be an almost guaranteed way of getting yourself hurt, embarrassed or taken advantage of.

But when the Internet is your community, that changes things. I’ve blogged before about the way online interaction is a healthy substitute for the direct psychical support of other women, other mothers; and IBM seems to agree that the further we hurtle into the 21st century, the more of our socializing will be done online. With that in mind, don’t we have a right to assume that the people we are talking to on Twitter or FaceBook, the person who’s blog or Tumblr we are following, is authentic, real, flesh and blood and exactly who they say they are?

Probably not. But we don’t even have that right when it comes to face to face, In Real Life contact– everything is, potentially, a scam, a lie or a threat.

You tie all those strings together– the digital, the Reality, the mediums used the communicate and the propensity of potential liars around– and you’re left with a strange, amateur crochet of an evolving society. Societies become communities when bonds are formed, and for that to happen, there has to be some level of trust, some sense of exposing of your vulnerabilities in the light of people’s ability to tread all over them, and their choice not to.

We have a community here. We expect authenticity from the people we feel we have a connection with. If we didn’t, it wouldn’t hurt so much, inspire so much anger, when we discover things just aren’t what they seem.

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{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }

Anonymous July 23, 2012 at 6:33 pm

I also am trusting and don't understand why people lie. Life is complex enough without adding lies you have to remember to the truth. Love your blog. Your descriptions of your headspace help me understand my DP better. He had some traumatic stuff happen 16 years ago that still consumes him somedays, so I really appreciate you verbalising some of the difficulties you have dealing with the day to day.


•´.¸¸.•¨¯`♥.Trish.♥´¯¨•.¸¸.´• July 23, 2012 at 5:06 pm

I trust you Lori and I believe in you and your words . Though I never knew you were a TV star and Captain Starlight's go to girl till the other day.

I don't understand why people lie online but I have known it often and discovered it on a forum myself.
I sometimes wonder if my own life is a lie it is so dramatic ;-) . Forget them Lori xox.


Anonymous July 23, 2012 at 1:19 pm

Your blog, your way. Your story of your life. Your perspective. We read because of you. You may blog but my dear girl, you are a writer. A scribe. A wordsmith. Embellish or not to embellish?? Well… Isn't that a writers… Right?
Xx K


perthwife July 23, 2012 at 12:46 pm

Like a few others have commented, it hasn't occurred to me that you would lie on your blog – why would you? What point would that prove?

Personally, I couldn't be bothered lying on my blog. I do sometimes change a few details because I try to keep fairly anonymous for the sake of my poor husband. But lying? Nah, too many things to remember.


Dorothy Krajewski July 23, 2012 at 12:42 pm

Having been married to a pathological liar and psychopath, I know how for some people can go.Yes, it has made me less trusting, but it hasn't stopped me from blogging my truth. As crazy and unlikely it may seem.


Eccles July 23, 2012 at 2:10 pm

"… Dana Dirr was hit head-on while driving to the Saskatchewan hospital where she worked as a trauma surgeon. She was 35 weeks pregnant, but determined to work until the moment she gave birth. The morning after the crash, her husband John ("J.S.") Dirr posted a note on Warrior Eli, a Facebook page the Dirrs had created to document their 5-year-old son Eli's battle with cancer: "Last night at 12:02am I lost the love of my life," J.S. wrote. "I lost my wife, the mother of my children, and my best friend." Miraculously, Dana had held on in the hospital just long enough to have her baby—a daughter, and the Dirr's eleventh child."

Lori, I copied & pasted to get the facts, just the facts Ma'am.

It's ok to get the two stories mixed up. I've read both the Dirr story & yours.

I don't have a maths brain – Shelley – you could have done the same thing as me. Read both stories & got the numbers mixed. I shall grant you the benefit of the doubt, which is more than you've granted Lori!.

I found Lori in "The After". I then went back to read about her "Before". I have had the pleasure and the pain, laughed, wept… through her journey. I have watched her grow in both writing & stature, her beatiful children grow, the loves & losses of people & pets. I BELIEVE EVERYTHING Lori says, because I believe IN HER!!!

That is MY opinion. This beautiful woman, Lori tells her story from her heart. If you don't like what Lori writes – you can always "change the channel"!!

Thank you Lori, I stuggled with the maths for my Da's life – in the end, dates don't matter, time does.


Anonymous July 22, 2012 at 8:57 pm

Look up " Abbi McMahon " and " Mummy Abbi" on Facebook . The father of her first four children died in a motorbike accident, prior to that she had a stillborn daughter . Then, her twin sons died in a car crash. Her nephew also died of S.I.D.S. Other casualties appear along the way. Nothing adds up. All the pictures of the kids have faces hidden, no photos of the twins etc. The person who comments on her photos and confirms the stories ? Peta Galea, formerly Peta Ahern. She has also done it on previous profiles and been outed ….


Anonymous July 22, 2012 at 11:26 am

The EXACT reason why I cannot blog. Nobody would believe me. Because my life is so far from normal. Whatever normal is.
I believe you.
Honestly, I wish I DIDN'T.


Nellie July 22, 2012 at 3:56 am

I believe you

I was accused of exaggerating the other day. It hurt very much. But what it made me see was that they thought I was exaggerating my emotional reaction. I retell the story and mimic a person – I change how they said something – the tone- based on how I heard it. Does that make sense? I am not trying to lie. If anything it just shows more truly how this thing that happened to me was perceived by me. The other thing is, I will say something really upset me and I will share my inner dialogue. People who were there say, but you looked fine so you must have been fine. No. I am telling an accurate story. This us what happened to and in me. That's how stories are always told. It's my perception and my feelings neither of which are ever exaggerated. THAT is what people don't seem to understand.


Miss Pink July 21, 2012 at 10:35 pm

You know my stance.
I can't be bothered lying.
I openly admit to omitting, but I feel omission and lying are two different things.
Stories become to long and arduous without some omission.

I read and respond to everything as if it were the truth. Who am I to say otherwise?
But yeah, if you don't add up, I follow my gut. Trust your instincts people, and if they're not going off? Then you take what is in front of you to be the truth.


Mumabulous July 21, 2012 at 5:56 pm

Perhaps I could compare your blogging experience to my internet dating oydessey, prior to meeting Dadabulous. The overwhelming majority of the guys I met were decent and genuine as I am sure 99.9% of your blog followers are. However there was one individual who came on like a hurricane which should have been a warning sign. His story started plausible but became increasing outrageous with each passing day. He claimed to have done a PHD and played in a band – yet I could find no google evidence of either. I even rang his alleged workplace only to be told there was no person of that name employed there. Luckily for me, he simply stopped calling. Of course I was peeved and annoyed at myself more than anything. Nevertheless I had entered the online arena knowing full well that I could encounter some nut cases. The good that came from my RSVP experience by far outweighed the bad and now I have a wonderful husband and two girls to show for it. So steel yourself Lori, the rewards you reap from this blog are worth it.
Good luck


DreaB July 21, 2012 at 1:15 am

I can only say that this blog strikes me as honest, which is part of the appeal of the writing, the honesty.

However, I understand that storytellers will add or amend (I'd use embellish but that seems to ahve been used negatively already) for the sake of a good tale. My husband does this – he revises the story for comedic effect, it's mostly true but bits will be exaggerated for the sake of a laugh for example. Our daughter will always look to me after he tells one of his stories and asks "Is that truth?" because she knows he makes things up.

Then there's the other little white people say like "I'm fine" because you just know no one wants to hear how things really are (I may do this one).

I'm not sure anyone is truly honest all the time. But the essentials, the foundations of who they are and what they think are a different beast to the social niceties everyone engages in at times I think.


Tara @ Our Whirlwind Adventures July 21, 2012 at 10:36 am

It's never occured to me not to take everything I've read on your blog as being true.
Even the post in question, probably because I've talked to plenty of older people who have shared their stories and even though later I know something's muddled, I wouldn't dare question them and instead take on board their story because it's their story, the way they've told it, whether it happened exactly as they told it, or not. It's how they remember it.


Confessions of a Wanna Be Yogini. July 21, 2012 at 12:28 am

I think anyone who wants to scrimp over such small details such as the age/familial status in that story, I would go with the fact that they're a complete troll. There has been nothing but brutal honesty on this blog since the before, and especially since the after. Shame on people for being such jerks.


Jolene July 20, 2012 at 10:04 pm

Oh Lori – honey – I am sure if you had wanted to tell lie or embellish a story you would have chosen a far happier one for you and your beautiful children. x Hugs xxx


Anonymous July 20, 2012 at 9:18 pm

Anon for this one….

a friend has a sister that faked her child having cancer for several years. She had the child's father (they didn't live together), her parents, her sisters and brother EVERYONE fooled. What was a simple skin lesion that required treatment she faked to became cancer. She even shaved the poor childs head to convince us she had chemo. She scammed a cancer charity of various things including a car, holidays and other special activities meant for sick children. This lasted at least 2 years.

It all came undone when she finally had a mental breakdown trying to keep on top of the web of lies and had her 6 children (5 diff fathers) removed and into the care of her sister. 3 of them stayed with her for well over a year, the youngest ones went into foster care. Needless to say she does not have custody of that child any more, she lives with her dad now, but she has gotten her other children back bar the eldest who still lives with the sister.

There are people out there unfortunately!!!


Kimmie July 20, 2012 at 7:44 pm

Lynda shame on you!


Lori @ RRSAHM July 20, 2012 at 6:57 pm

Shelly, the article is linked right there… if there's something you need to clarify me on, please do so. The facts as recorded here, are taken from the article linked.


Denwise aka Denyse Whelan July 21, 2012 at 1:07 am

I agree with Sarah.. & I could never tell a life of lies & am certain you don't either. Aint life hard enough living it truthfully? Who wants to mess with "now who did I say that to, what was the day I did that" I'm trusting but have learned over many years to hold back a little before fully engaging with those I am yet to know well. You? easy! Done xxxx


Krystle July 20, 2012 at 2:11 pm

I haven't been reading your blog long, so I'm not sure why someone would feel the need to make such an accusation. If I didn't think a blog was truthful, I'd simple switch. It's not like there aren't enough blogs in the world to find something that resonates personally.

I hope that this persons comment hasn't changed the perspective of believing. I personally approach new people with the assumption they're being truthful. This has backfired several times in real life, but never with online connections (that I know of anyway!).

I don't think there is an expectation that bloggers share all. It's not realistic and it would only be one perspective anyway. Chin up, don't worry what others say! If they don't want to read, it's their loss :)


Shelly Jackson July 20, 2012 at 1:46 pm

You have the facts of the Emily Dirr story all messed up.


Lori @ RRSAHM July 20, 2012 at 11:30 am

Ahhh Lynda, why thanks so much. Because, really, as I said, I don't have enough drama on my blog?
I only wish I were embellishing… Wouldn't that be nice…?


Sarah July 20, 2012 at 10:24 am

Dude if you're lying, you're pretty freakin' good at it ;)


Kimmie July 20, 2012 at 10:08 am

Great post Lori and you are so right when you say…

"With that in mind, don't we have a right to assume that the people we are talking to on Twitter or FaceBook, the person who's blog or Tumblr we are following, is authentic, real, flesh and blood and exactly who they say they are?

Probably not. But we don't even have that right when it comes to face to face, In Real Life contact– everything is, potentially, a scam, a lie or a threat."


Lynda July 20, 2012 at 9:51 am

I would not say that you out and out lie (as anon accused) however I do feel you have a tendency to embellish.


Spagsy July 20, 2012 at 9:50 am

Wow. Why would anyone accuse you of lying? If you don't like the blog switch off.

I agree with Ann Mouse Keep telling your story to help others tell theirs


Anonymous July 20, 2012 at 8:52 am

I find that if your life story even slightly deviates from what people conceive to be "normal", then they struggle to believe it and perhaps think you are spinning lies.

Hardly anyone knows my "life story" because to be honest, at times, I think about it and wonder if it's a piece of fiction because really how could anyone have not only gone through what I've gone through but then come out the other side as well? But it IS true and I did go through it and I have come out the other side and yes I'm still battling every single day and yes I do have demons but it's easier to keep it all to myself because I'm tired of having to convince people that yes my life story IS true whenever I need to talk to someone, anyone about it. That's been the hardest part, needing to talk about it but not trusting anyone enough to not judge me in order to do so.

We all tell a story online, yes some may stretch the truth but there are others, like you and me Lori, who WISH our stories had been the truth stretched because at least that would mean we weren't living them, in all their truth and raw detail. I've found one person to completely open up with online. He's been a friend, he's listened, most importantly he hasn't judged and I can never thank him enough for that.

Keep telling your story, in all it's raw brutality because when you do, you pave the way for the rest of us to tell ours.


Erin July 20, 2012 at 6:50 pm

some people are just assholes!!, plain and simple minded people that clearly have boring lives keeping telling your story and those that love you will keep listening xx


Carly Findlay July 20, 2012 at 8:41 am

I once loved someone and later found out he lied aboutnhisnentire life online. I wrote about it here.
I find the psychology of Internet use interesting and enjoyed studying it for my thesis.


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