A few days ago, as I scanned a school hallway to make sure I knew where my daughter, her friend, and my “get-away” second child were, a friend stopped me. She had read my blog. To my surprise, what I assumed would be small talk turned out as first glance to be praise. She said she loved it (thank you!!!). Then it got a little deeper.
“Thank you. I know it probably can be a bit much,” I giggled out. I have never been really great at just letting the compliment settle in.
“No, really,” she went on. “It is just that my friends always tell me I am too real; too honest. I wear what I am feeling too much on my sleeve. It was refreshing to read it.” This I was not expecting.
“Well, I just think… there are plenty of perfectly made up people playing the part. I just…” sometimes searching for the right words in the moment fail me miserably…so I tried again. “I just, I think people need to know that others feel what they do. They need to know they relate.“
What she said replayed in my mind for the last few weeks. In our most poignant, telling moments, life can paint the memory. True to this, when I think about that moment, her face is clear as the day she stood in front of me. A sign I should be listening to the lesson.
So what purpose and meaning did this brief interaction pose that made is so prominent? For me, there is one solid lesson it came to – we need to be real.
The battle of a facade and the exposure of depth. To reveal what is true is to risk criticism. To blend, be pleasant and likable is to feign perfectionism. The balance is to recognize the tug-of-war between both sides and yet, I repeat, we need to be real.
We need to see the pain.
We need to share the tears.
We need to laugh so hard we snort.
We need to expose our insecurities.
We need to show ourselves overcoming.
We need to let the wounds breathe.
We need to allow the compliments.
We need to ask for help.
We need to be the first to give it.
Know, please know, I don’t care what shape you come to me in. I want your heart; I want your truth. The good, the bad, the deep, the contemplative, the confused, the happy, the everything. We were given emotions, truths, pain, and strength. It all can get so mixed up when we are trying to fit what the molds say are best. Don’t be the mold. Be who you are. Be YOU.
Truth bomb – this year has sucked. 2017 has delivered it’s share of punches and many others have it worse. Despite it all, I get up. I put on clothes. I drive to work. I put one foot in front of the other. I move forward.
It isn’t always easy. What makes this possible is knowing I do not have to be perfect. If I don’t have makeup on, those that matter don’t care. If my hair is in a ponytail for the third day, no judgments are made. When my nose is bright red from crying and I am doing all I can to type, a message will come through saying “I’m there for you.” During the times I spend three hours on a bed because a new item has brought me to tears, hugs are given and books are read together under the covers.
Life isn’t made for the weak but it is a lie that weakness is showing what you feel. To show your breaking points, to show your excitement, to expose any part of your inner self is strength because in a second someone could tell you how wrong it was for you to do just that. Be brave.
Find those who allow all of you, that relish in who you are..the real you. Perhaps at one time, the carefully placed perfect walls were needed. In those times, we grew, but find those individuals that don’t require them. Invest in those people. Those are your crew, your tribe, your besties, your people. They will fail you from time to time, as you will them. Allow that and allow the make up. Realness comes with risk and pain but the payoff is worth it.
Perfection isn’t the answer; you are.