May 18, 2011

[whatever the mess you are]

For as disheveled and discombobulated as I can tend to be, I really hate when things are counterproductive. I hate when I can visibly see that there is a goal and everything that's happening seems to be happening as though the goal doesn't exist. If I have to go to Kansas from Colorado, I don't want to have a layover in Florida, you know?

I have a [probably over-simplified and emotion-fueled] theory about authenticity: I think everybody wants it but everybody's scared of it so nobody does it. Counterproductivity in it's ugliest, most hate-able form.

We all want to fit in, to be accepted, to look and sound and feel right. I think no one [and I do mean no one] is excluded from this category, I don't care how self-assured or well-adjusted or popular or good-looking a person might be. So we're all out for this belonging business, at certain points [read: middle school] willing to get it at any cost. The thing is, no one really knows what they're doing, in general. So they fake it. I see that Veronica is doing so great, so I think that if she has it figured out, I better follow suit and at least make it look like I do too. So I fake it. Then Genevieve and Cynthia and all my other fictional friends who sound like they were named after American Girl dolls see that I have it all together, and they start faking it too. We're faking it to prove something to someone who's just faking it to prove something to someone else. 

Everyone is faking it. And honestly, I don't blame us.

Authenticity is messy, highly unpredictable, and not always pretty; and that makes people very nervous. As such, [I've said it before and I'll say it again] there is a great deal of risk involved in being authentic. We fake it for a reason. Being authentic rocks the boat. People don't really like it when you rock the boat because it threatens the safety of their boat, and everybody wants to have control over their boat. Including me. 

The logical part of me [which to be fair is a very small part of me] just thinks it's kind of simple. If we’re all sort of faking it, let’s just all sort of stop. If we embraced authenticity, if we recognized the beauty in being genuine, we'd be ok. Yes, we'd all be quirky and screwy and more than likely super awkward but we'd all be in it together. We fear rejection because it's a reality, it's a thing that can happen if we're not careful. We spend so much time being careful, though, that life can get exhausting and lonely and maybe we're not even having any fun most of the time. 

I don’t know what your story looks like, but don’t you for one-half second believe the lie that it makes you any less lovable. Because exactly the opposite is true: people love people for their stories. If you don't tell it, I truly believe you are depriving yourself of one of the best things I have ever experienced: being you, and being loved for it. Authenticity opens you up to a level of intimacy that isn’t attainable any other way. Faking might feel safe. But being content with safe is just silly when you consider what's possible.

Brokenness is a reality, but exhaustion and loneliness and rejection don't have to be. This is a thing that can change. So be authentic. For every middle school girl and middle aged man in this world for whom faking it feels like the only option, and for the consequent exhaustion and loneliness they think is unique to themselves --

Embrace your mess so you can embrace theirs.

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