I was at a fundraising event on Friday night and a woman that I hadn’t seen in quite some time hugged me and asked if everything was okay. I hadn’t talked to her about my life, really, ever. We aren’t friends. Well, we are Facebook friends, but honestly, I couldn’t remember her name right away (or even as she hugged me), so, no, we are not friends.
I looked at her confused and she mumbled something about seeing a post about a hard time I was having. I quickly scanned my recent #keepingitreal posts in my head. She laughed nervously as she could see me trying to remember.
“I’m not sure what post you’re referring to, but I am great. Thank you for asking. I post the hard stuff on Facebook because I don’t like pretending that life is full of roses all the time. So perhaps you saw me struggling, but don’t worry, it’s all good. I believe everyone has hard times. And it’s important for me to be real about the struggles in my life.”
I didn’t have this mini speech planned but it came out pretty seamlessly. Likely because this has happened on a number of occasions. What I don’t want you to know is that makes me nervous.
The reality is this:
Interactions like that make me second guess my commitment to telling the truth. What if that is how people remember me? Or think of me, in the yucky place? And does it matter anyway?
“Well, yes, in fact, it does matter what people think of you,”
“It matters because you are a leader and you should be seen as being a certain way.”
These are the voices in my head.
“I should be seen as having my shit together all the time.”
It’s comical, isn’t it? This stuff we believe that just isn’t true.
These random conversations with people I don’t know well, and private messages from people ‘praying for me is’ what my life looks like sometimes. It is a result of me being me online, taking off the mask, telling my truth in ways I wasn’t raised to do.
Why am I committed to showing the behind the scenes of my not so perfect life? Because, puhleeese…who has a perfect life? No one. So why all the pretending?
It’s scary to be transparent about my imperfect life.
It’s scary to be vulnerable.
But I’m committed to truth telling because I’m sick of the pretending and sugar coating. It doesn’t feel right to omit, deny or hide the shadows and darkness. It’s not real. I want real.
Thankfully I have found a tribe of people that also want more real and they love me just the way I am, with all my imperfections.
I know because of the hits I get on those Facebook posts that include the “ugly”.
I know because they private message me and thank me for sharing.
I know because they comment, ‘me too.’
Sometimes remembering that makes it easier when I hit publish on something that makes me feel queasy. Easier perhaps, but never less scary. It’s scary every. single. time.
There is liberation in pulling back the curtain and releasing the shame.
I’m ready for that. I’m ready to live in a world like that.
I am who I am. I live the way I live.
My life has ups and downs.
I mess up. I trip and fall. I feel bad. I regret. I get anxious. I wake up worrying. I yell at my kids. I ugly cry. I belittle myself. I doubt.
And I laugh. I dance. I giggle with my kids. I trust. I believe. I overcome. I thrive. I feel amazing. I go to sleep peacefully. I love. I care.
Living my life fully means I get to own all of the moments that I experience. Fully.
And being me, means I will share them. Know that I might have a vulnerability hangover. Know that I might regret baring all sometimes. It is worth it though, because I don’t want to be caught in someone else’s idea of who I am or how I am supposed to be. I don’t want the status quo to define me.
I want to feel the freedom of being me, my true self, and speaking my truth.
I want to feel what it feels like to be loved for who I am authentically, really, honestly and truly.
I want to be seen. And to be seen, I need to allow you to see the real ME.
The thing is, as scary as it can be to be ME out in the world, I desire it immensely. The desire is palpable. It makes me cry. And I know where it comes from. My desire comes from that deep place inside where my inner wise being smiles knowingly at and with me. She wraps me with a powerful cloak of strength. She honors my wholeness and gives me permission, no, she urges me, to dance around in my truth and to bare it all.
Even when it’s ugly and messy. Especially then.
Let’s keep truth telling…and dancing. Always dancing.