Some people might think living unapologetically translates into a direct license to act like an asshole. That their brash or selfish actions (& their consequences) can all be instantly negated under a veil of self-proclaimed authenticity or self-empowerment. The “it’s just who I am, love it or leave it” crowd that seems paradoxically oblivious to their potential to hurt others. Have you ever met one of these and just felt, well … a bit stumped?
I have. It’s all so perplexing. I love raw, honest people, but in all honestly, the scenario described above just doesn’t feel 100% right to me when I experience it either. And this is an area where I know I get really confused & then immediately start worrying if I’m just totally wrong about it (uh huh) or a real coward (yes) or something. Because it’s so hard to be (and stay) real when you leave the safety of the illusion that everyone liking you for YOU is even remotely possible and instead enter realness: for me this means the challenge to say what’s on my mind when I also just really want everyone – but including me – to be happy. Or at the very least not offended.
As someone who considers & analyzes almost compulsively — and certainly wholeheartly, neurotically, & co-dependently — pretty much how their every action will affect others, I can tell you I have not found authenticity (living & loving unabashedly) & conscientiousness (considering it’s effect) toward others to be mutually exclusive.
You can do both & still feel good about yourself at the end of the day … You can … can’t you?
Recently, I have been writing more. Really putting myself out there just as I am & my fragile, tender heart into my words. Guys, it is scary as fuck. I am putting my soul out there to be rejected. Yes, my soul. I am choosing to greet the world on a soul level and it is often just as painful as it is frightening. Interacting this way – in a world that I question whether was truly made for souls or that it knows how to value and treat them – is hella hard. This all probably sounds really odd, but hopefully you get me on this one: it just feels like the world interacts with souls most often by crushing them. And I absolutely know I will be crushed and rejected, by at least a few people, if
not more. So, I find myself stuck between truly needing to be unapologetically me & the temptation to spin my life into something more palatable & easily understood: something it’s really not.
Perhaps the most scary part about blogging from a vulnerable place (I should think of a catchy name to capture this, like “rawgging” … umm okay, that one might need some more work.) is that there are some people out there who will read what I pour out of my heart, and then possibly use the information to make inaccurate or hurtful assumptions about me:
- She talks about her illnesses only because she wants attention.
- She wants to be/stay sick, that’s why she is.
- Gosh what a negative person.
- Man, this chick sounds depressed.
- Doesn’t she have Boyfriend to talk to about all of this? (Yes, and he’s a freaking saint.)
And I struggle in exposing the real me through writing for fear of any rejection or assumptions, whether real (ouch) or imagined (even worse), and for fear of causing harm. Because, while I definitely want to be the person who is unapologetically open & authentic, another part of me knows that every decision has a consequence, and I am opening the door to misunderstanding of the REAL me.
You see, it’s very ideal to greet the world with something that is not you. The not-real. Kind of like in the movie Zoolander, when they need to go to fashion week in disguise, needing to look like “not-us” – and if you need to better understand this movie reference, please watch it ten more times until you have the entire movie memorized. Like I do.
Just kidding, back to serious-ish-ness.
My point is, and I promise I have one: It’s very safe to stay inside the neat little boxes we’ve grown to expect in everyday life:
“How are you today?”
“Fine*, and you?” *actually not really fine but smiles anyway.
To hide the real you behind a mask or in another body. I am guilty of this.
Your emotional stunt-double handles rejection far better than the authentic you, so you keep putting her/him out there instead. We walk around life interacting with bodies & facades instead of souls, because it’s easy & comfortable. But guys, it just doesn’t seem really REAL. At least not to me.
As someone who spent more than two decades of their life living one long apology for basically existing & having only the most basic human needs, I find it extremely challenging to remain real & unapologetic. Perhaps some of the most valuable relationships in my life, therefore, are those in which I can feel brave enough to talk freely about the things that aren’t always easy, fine, or comfortable. Because while I truly want (and love when) things to be good, it’s the friend who knows how to just be still with you & who accepts the bad moments as freely as the great ones that usually wins my heart.
I guess what I’m saying is that all of this seems so important. Because it’s important to grow in life to a spot where you can not only be your true, REAL self in life but also have a precious tribe of people there who cheer you forward & honor the authentic you. And that you honor & respect them too. Not everyone is going to like you – but not everyone needs to understand the real you in order for it still to be okay for you to live openly. Rejection and pain sting, but they sting an open, bleeding, living heart. They only sting because you are alive & REAL & unabashedly embracing your you-ness.
You know, the real you that says awkward shit & has rough edges? With all the fragile, messy, human parts? The part of you that relates to (me) sobbing in public places every once in a while? Yes, that one. That’s the real you I really love. And I’m learning to love mine too.
” ‘It doesn’t happen all at once,’ said the Skin Horse. ‘You become. It takes a long time …. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.’ ”