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I lie to protect myself

1st place $50

Author’s name withheld

Illustration by Amy Fan, Temple City HS

When I was smaller I always told the truth, and my parents always liked that about me. They always told my sister that the more she lied, the more people won’t believe her, and it’s true. The more lies you tell, the more people won’t listen when you are actually telling the truth.

I have never lied to my parents because I feel that is wrong. But I have lied to some of my friends. I don’t consider it a humongous lie, but it’s pretty big. And this lie I tell is about my sexual orientation. I have lied to many people about being straight.

When people ask, “Who do you like?” I have to pick a random guy and pretend like I actually like him. Sometimes I have to agree on the “cuteness” of the guys my friends like, even though I don’t find guys attractive. There was one time I picked this guy I didn’t even know at all and I told my friends I had a big crush on him. They wouldn’t stop bothering me about me “liking” him. It didn’t feel right to lie, but it kept them from questioning my sexuality.

My parents have never questioned me about my sexuality and I don’t know if they will. They always give me speeches about having a boyfriend and being careful, and I have to listen even though I don’t agree with what they tell me. I pay attention and nod when I have to and, well, they have never asked me if I’ve had a boyfriend or anything. I thought they would’ve started to wonder about me because of my way of dressing. I own more button-down shirts than girly shirts, and I prefer to dress with a button-down shirt and fitted jeans. If my parents ever question me about my sexuality I’m going to have to tell them the truth because I have never lied to them and I don’t plan on starting to now.

I never thought I would lie to anybody about anything. And now I have this lie going on about me being straight. But I lie about this because some people wouldn’t accept me for being a lesbian and would hurt my feelings. I know that as I grow older I will gain more self-esteem but right now I prefer to have this lie going on. I know it’s bad to lie and that I should stop, but it protects my feelings.

I wish they’d told me the truth

2nd place $30 (tie)

By Lilit Mkrtchian, Clark Magnet HS (La Crescenta)

Music has always played a large role in my life, whether I listened to it, made it or sang along with it. When I was little, I loved singing all of my favorite songs. I sang all day: while I was playing with my dolls, doing homework and in the shower as well. On the weekends or whenever I got bored, I would plug in a microphone, stand on a chair and perform for my family and guests. They loved my singing and told me I had the sweetest voice. I was a little too confident and even thought I was going to be a star on American Idol one day! 

In elementary school, I decided to join the choir to have some fun and show off my voice at the same time. During performances, I would always want to be the main voice and sing solos. My friends thought I was amazing, but what did they know? They were only in fifth grade. I always thought I was a good singer until one day, one of my family members told me the cold, hard truth.

During winter break of fifth grade, we were at a family gathering with many relatives, some of who I didn’t even recognize. As everyone sat down, I decided I should sing some of the holiday songs I had been taught in choir. I began to sing Winter Wonderland, when I noticed a lady looking at me with a weird expression, as if she had just eaten something sour. I remembered the lady as one of those family members nobody liked, but she wasn’t aware of it. She was the loudest person there, always stating her opinion and being rude. As I got into the chorus of the song, the lady interrupted me with her loud, arrogant voice: “Stop singing, your voice is giving me a huge headache!” From this moment on, I realized that with their lies, my family was keeping the truth about my singing away from me.

A good 10 seconds passed as I processed what had just happened, and my eyes began to well up with tears. I threw the microphone onto the ground and ran into an empty bedroom, crying my eyes out into a soft pillow, which seemed to be my only comfort at the time. As a 10-year-old, my dreams were crushed: I would never audition on American Idol, become a star or be a well-known singer. Thanks to my family’s little white lie, I had to be told the truth by someone I didn’t even know in a pretty rude way. I would rather have had my family tell me I was never good than support me by lying. 

Being young, you’re constantly lied to, but you never realize it until you are older. This sounds harsh but hey—do you still expect presents from Santa Claus on Christmas or a quarter under your pillow from the tooth fairy? Lying is like a safety blanket, shielding the not-so-important truth from the young and the not-so-nice opinions from teenagers and adults. In a way, adults preserve their children’s childhood with little white lies such as supporting them in something they like to do but may not be good at. In the end, it’s all about how the person feels. I would rather have the truth told straight to my face than to hear lies and later find out what someone was really thinking. Lying is never the right thing to do, because once you tell a lie it sets off a chain of events. If you lie just to spare someone’s feelings, you have to consider the consequences. You might make the person feel good for a while, but in the long run, when the truth comes out, things may not end up so well.

I got out of trouble, but still feel guilty

2nd place $30 (tie)

By Pierre Simonian, Clark Magnet HS

Is it OK to lie? This is a common question everyone faces. One might say yes because lying helps you stay out of trouble. Others might say no because telling lies creates more problems. But if you asked me, I would say, “It depends.” Looking back at my life, lying put me in good and bad positions, it all depended on my situation.

When I was a third grader, I remember an event taking place on my school playground. It was some kind of magic show for us kids and teachers to watch. We were assigned seats and I sat next to the mentally impaired kid in our class who no one liked. As one of the crowd, I didn’t like him either because no one else did. Sitting in front of us was a tall kid who I hated because he told on me all the time. He was so tall that every time he would sit down no one behind him could see ahead. That day, that person was me. No matter how much I moved my head left to right to see the magician, all I saw was his head blocking everything and I wasn’t going to sit there and take it. So I took my hand and smacked his head from behind. He turned around in a rage wondering who it was. I just sat there looking up at the sky. He turned back around rubbing his head from the pain. At that moment I had so much adrenaline rushing through me that I could’ve hit his head another five times, but if I did he would know it was me. So I told the mentally impaired kid next to me to smack his head. He asked why and I yelled at him to just do it. He took his hand from his pocket and smacked his head twice as hard as I had. He quickly put his hand down but it was too late. The tall kid turned around, punched him in the face a good three times, grabbed the hand he smacked his head with and twisted it. As of now, the kid next to me was crying and everyone was looking in our direction. Two teachers pulled them out of their seats and rushed them to the office.

About two days later I was called to the office by the principal. She told me that the kid next to me was telling her that I told him to smack that tall guy’s head. She asked if this was true. I said no, and pretended that I had no idea what she was talking about. I denied everything else the principal told me, and the principal believed it.

Sure, lying saved me but I still feel guilty even to this day. Lying should be used for a good purpose. For example, your friend gets a new haircut and you think it looks bad and you, like anyone else, would say it looks fine. No harm was done to you or your friend. However for my situation, everyone got harmed. Yes, including me. By saying “no” to the principal, I did not tell the truth. I lied, and I felt guilty.

Lying is an extremely powerful tool in human nature. The fact that we all take advantage of it is normal, but one must know how to use it unlike the way I did.

I lost respect because I lied

Honorable mention

By Devin Younanian, Clark Magnet HS

Lying is not OK. Like most people, I too have lied at some part in my life. Also, I have told lies that had a serious impact on a relationship, for it is part of human nature for human beings to lie.

One significant lie that I have told, that caused a huge issue, occurred not too long ago. During this past summer, I was planning on taking a summer art class for credits towards high school. I went to class and there the teacher (whom I lied about) was. We started a project to sketch a shoe onto a piece of construction paper. I knew before that I did not want to take an art class for I knew that I was horrible at art; however, I had no choice. After the class finished, I was in the car with my mother. I told my mother that I did not want to continue the class and that my teacher said that I was terrible at drawing. My mother got angry and believed me so she called the school’s counselor and told the counselor. Eventually, the teacher met with the counselor and told her that she did not say that, and that she didn’t want me to leave the class. My mother and I then went back to school and met up with the counselor and the teacher. There, the counselor asked me if the teacher had truly told me that I was bad at drawing. Under pressure, I eventually gave in and told the truth.

That one lie had a significant impact on me, the teacher I lied about, my mother and my counselor. One, I lost the respect of my parents, whose trust I worked hard to gain back. Second, I lost the respect of my counselor and my teacher, whose relationships with me have changed dramatically. Finally, I lost respect of myself. I don’t know how I could have possibly allowed myself to hurt other human beings. At the time I thought lying would get me out of the art class I did not want to take. Although lying did take me out of the art class, it also created a situation that was even worse than going to the art class. For about a week or two, I was not able to sleep, knowing that I had hurt innocent people’s feelings and that I did not deserve to be forgiven. It was a long nightmare, which I thought would never ever end.

Lying can be tempting and beneficial, but it is still not OK. Lying creates scenarios where people can get hurt or the liar can get hurt. Lying is a huge problem in society; however, it is impossible to stop, for it is in human nature to lie. Lying is not OK.

I wish I hadn’t lied and disappointed my dad 

Honorable mention

By Nancy Vo, El Monte HS

Everyone has lied about something in their life at one point or another. I know I have. Lies can range in size, from big lies to little white ones. Now, I don’t know about you, but as a child, I was always encouraged to tell the truth; however, the truth can sometimes hurt. Lying is fine, when used to a certain extent.

My mom is the best person I know, she’s a hard-worker and a great parent, but it doesn’t mean she’s a saint. She’s lied about a whole lot of things from her age to her “made from scratch” meals. She’s even lied to her friends. Whenever my mom and her girlfriends go shopping, it’s like a lying festival. Everyone lies to each other about how good someone looks in a dress, but to me, it’s understandable. Sometimes a little white lie can save you from hurting someone you care about.

Little white lies are definitely different from big ones. I should know that. I experienced the wrath of my dad when I told him a big one. It was on a Saturday, some time in November, when I was invited to my best friend’s “Sweet Sixteen.” I knew my dad wasn’t going to let me go to my best friend’s birthday party because my area isn’t exactly the safest, for one, and two there were going to be boys there. So, in my time of need, I looked to a lie to help me get what I wanted. So I told my dad that I was going to the movie theater to catch a late showing of “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn” and that I wouldn’t be home until 11 or 12 at night. He believed me, or at least until he saw what one of my friends had texted me. The text read, “YESSS! I cant believe your gonna go to Melissas party! Ill see you there babe! Call me when you get here!!” I never called her. Instead I lost my credibility and got my phone taken away for a month. At that moment, all I remember was being frustrated with myself. I should’ve just stayed home that night instead of trying to pull a fast one on my dad. And I’ll never forget what my dad told me that night. He said, “I’m really disappointed in you. We’re family and family don’t lie to each other. How am I supposed to take your words seriously when all they are are lies.

Lying is perfectly fine when you’re trying to save someone from getting hurt; however, lying for your own intentions is definitely not acceptable. Lying can be a smart way of avoiding trouble, until you get caught. So even though lying seems like a bright idea, it’s really not. You’re worth nothing without your word. Be honest. Be credible. Don’t lie.


I lie for love

Honorable mention

Author’s name withheld

Lies are told all over the place, but sometimes I think that no one has ever lied as bad as I’ve had. I don’t intend to lie but my parents are very special to me and I don’t want to hurt them so I end up lying. I have my own life away from them; I really wish sometimes that I could tell them but they think of me as their princess—so innocent, never told them a lie, “doesn’t break a plate” (a saying they say in El Salvador).

Yes, I’ve told my mum and dad so many lies. For example I’ve told them I’m doing schoolwork when in reality I’m nowhere near schoolwork. No, I don’t do drugs, I’m not in gangs, but I do have a boyfriend. A boyfriend I know they won’t approve of because they think I’m young and I don’t know what I’m doing.

My lies, so that I could spend time with my boyfriend, started off with small little white lies. There were those days I would tell my mum, “Hey mum, I’m going to stay after school today.” I would meet with him at a laundry near my school and we would just hang out and play video games at the laundry. Later on we got closer and wanted to hang out somewhere different. From that moment I started growing my lies. I would tell my parents I was going for some tutoring and since my parents believe everything I tell them, they had no problem with me going. Once my mum would drop me off I would walk over to the Rose Garden where I would meet up with my boyfriend from 4-6 p.m. We basically made our own life, we told each other everything, and we would go to the Science Center to eat and explore. Month went by, my lies continued, and my relationship grew more and more to the point that I would go over to his house. He became part of my life; just as lying was part of me also. Those little white lies I would tell are now big elephant lies that I continue to tell and can’t seem to stop.

I do think that my lies save me from hurting my parents’ feelings, but then again once they find out I will have lost all of the confidence they had in me completely. I truly don’t regret lying to them because all this time that I’ve lied to them, I made my life with someone very special, someone that constantly reminds me of his love for me by telling me, “Everything will be worth it in the end.” I know I shouldn’t have lied to my parents in the first place, but I want them to at least feel for a while more until I’m over age that I’m the daughter that never did them wrong. Sometimes I feel they will understand me and tell me everything’s going to be all right, but sadly my parents aren’t like that, they’re so last century. I love them but my lies will save me from losing their confidence and save them from getting hurt.

Think about your lies before telling them, they can ruin your social and personal life. I do not yet know my destiny with all these lies I’ve told, but I know for a fact that one writes their own destiny because the things you do make you who you are. Those little white lies we told as kids grow and now are massive lies that reflect on us.

Next essay contest: Is it OK to lie?

On page 18, our writer shares how she admires her stepdad for being loving, patient and kind to her family. She appreciates those traits and doesn’t take him for granted because her father was abusive and didn’t treat her family that way. Like our writer looking up to her stepdad, we want you to tell us about someone in your life who you admire. Maybe it’s a parent who works hard to provide for your family or an older sibling who made it to college. Or maybe it’s a friend, classmate, teammate or co-worker. We want you to pick someone you know well, rather than a celebrity or athlete, so your essays are more personal. Pick one time they did something you admired and write about that, or write about why you admire this person overall.

Write an essay to L.A. Youth and tell us about it:

Essays should be a page or more. Include your name, school, age and phone number with your essay. The staff of L.A. Youth will read the entries and pick three winners.Your name will be withheld if you request it. The first-place winner will receive $50. The second-place winner will get $30 and the third-place winner will receive $20. Winning essays will be printed in our March-April issue and posted  on

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