“The Japanese say you have three faces. The first face, you show to the world. The second face, you show to your close friends, and your family. The third face, you never show anyone. It is the truest reflection of who you are.” -Anonymous
Growing up I was always afraid to be myself. As a kid, I cared a lot about what people thought of me, and the only things that really mattered were how many friends I had and if the cute boy in class liked me. Looking back, my best friends were probably my American Girl dolls and maybe, like, three other people. But I always wanted to be somebody I was not. I even lied in my childhood diary saying I was friends with all these people who barely spoke to me. I remember reading it years later thinking I had serious issues. I guess I was paranoid if I told the truth, someone would read it and see that I was actually lame.
Later on, I began to get more comfortable in my own skin. I developed friendships with people who I trusted and got into a relationship with someone very similar to myself. I felt like I could be my weird, fun-loving self around these people and it was so much less work than being phony. But there was also many situations I would come to be in where I would lie about who I was, either to friends, boyfriends, or complete strangers, because I was sorry for something that I did, embarrassed by something that I didn’t do, or even worse, ashamed of who I was.
I often beat myself up about the lies I have told, no matter how big or small. I wasn’t some lying monster without a conscious, who intentionally wanted to hurt people, but I beat myself up because I had to live the lies I told. At one point, I got so good at pretending to be someone I wasn’t, that lying became a second language. It was so important to me that everyone thought I was a normal, perfect, innocent girl because I never dared to be the dreaded D word: different.
I pretended I didn’t care, because not caring was cool. I told myself, everybody lies to fit in. They lie about how tall they are, how old they are, how many people they slept with, how often they smoke, how much they drink, what job they have. Eventually I learned to brush it off because I figured I would never see the person I lied to again, or if I did, they would never find out. But the closer you get to someone the more likely they will see right through you. I wanted to be able to get close to someone but after lying it makes it harder to let someone in. As a result, I have hurt people who were close to me, and ultimately hurt myself. After the aftermath, I told myself it wasn’t worth losing people, and I would never lie again.
Well it turns out it’s very hard not to lie. It’s hard to admit to things in your past you aren’t proud of. It’s hard to admit you made a mistake and possibly hurt someone. It’s hard to let someone see the real you when you don’t like who that person is. It seems so much easier to make something up than to admit to fault, or to use an excuse instead of be honest because the alternative seems way worse: to be vulnerable.
The reality is, these problems really only exist in our heads. Being vulnerable and making mistakes is what makes us human, but being afraid makes us do things that are inhumane. I don’t want to feel like I have to lie, and the best way to do that is to let go of the fear that the truth isn’t good enough. When we lie, we open the flood gates to remorse and we could end up hurting someone even more. Maybe telling the truth exposes us, but I would rather be accepted for the truth, than live with the shame of a lie and then feeling like I need to cover it up.
I started this blog because I am ready to be vulnerable. It’s not an easy task but I am ready to work at it. I am not going to let my mind get in the way anymore because it makes me much happier to be who I really am and have people love me for it. I would think that is what everyone wants, no?
I want to encourage people who are afraid to be who they are to show someone their true self. Some people may laugh or make fun of you, but the good ones will stick with you and they are the ones worth hanging on to. My biggest fear is to be vulnerable and get my heartbroken, but I know that getting over that fear and finally being accepted will not only bring better people into my life, it will make me feel free.