Everyone has a story — a narrative of perspective, of themselves. The lifetime of experiences that come together to define this story are so complex, so difficult to articulate, that we best listen when someone manages to convert their web of personality into a cohesive piece.
Joshua Hunt’s tells an intimate and knotty tale of how social relationships and class dynamics and personal shame intersected to form his path towards destruction. Many of the comments on Hunt’s article ring full of empathy. His reflection on his own pathological lying has helped them understand some of their own family. Others, however, are less friendly. They attack his morality, citing how they suffered similarly yet emerged more pure.
I fall more into the first category, but I wonder about the people directly affected by his lies. They face a functioning adult who stole from them. For them, the universal truth that an adult must be accountable remains, even if bad habits carried over from an innocent kid trying to cope with a harsh reality.
Then I reread the article. Hunt’s story contains invaluable lessons on poverty in America and its pervasive effects on character. I realize that, as readers, it doesn’t matter whether Hunt was responsible — we aren’t the people he lied to. When offered such a deep insight into someone’s soul, the lessons should outshine the nuance because online criticism doesn’t get us anywhere. We must move to understanding and then progress, not from skepticism to hate.