Since the time we were young kids, we were always told to “tell the truth.”
It was hammered into us. Honesty — that’s a virtue. Liars are bad people. You are good if you tell it like it is.
You go to court and you swear to tell “the whole truth and nothing but the truth.”
George Washington would never told a lie.
Pinocchio’s nose went nuts every time he lied. (That’s weird, don’t you think?)
And I suppose and assume that most of us believe ourselves to be honest people.
Tell the truth. Black or white. Maybe some white lies to make people feel better and cement our “People Pleaser Status” (“That dress looks awesome on you!”)
But how many of us really tell the truth?
The real truth.
The sometimes-freakin’-UGLY truth?
The bare-naked truth?
And forget about telling it to others, what about to ourselves?
Do you really know why you do what you do, why your feathers get ruffled the way they do or why you are so angry about or scared of something?
Do you know why you freak out when someone uses a certain word (I get unglued when someone tells me to “Relax”) or why you make some of the choices you do or why you keep some toxic people in your life or why you can’t say “no” when you so want to?
Or, worse, do you really want people to know what a f*ck-up you are or how you made a dumb decision or how ashamed you are by the mistakes you’ve made?
Because chances are you spend a whole lot of time and effort and energy masking all of that so everyone believes you got it goin’ on. And we know you don’t really. Because no one’s life — NO ONE’s — has that fake perfection.
The perfection actually lies in all the mess. I promise you that.
But we still hear (and ourselves answer):
It’s all good!
I’m perfect and so is my life!
No money problems.
Never had a sh*tty day in my life.
My kids are angels.
Oh, and yes, birds circle my head, happily chirping, at all hours of the day.
Here’s the truth: The truth can be really scary. It’s liberating and, in all honesty, ultimately delicious (thank you for that word, Lolly D) but it scares the living you-know-what out of us.
Because the truth is the means through which we will be found out for what we really are.
And that would be really bad.
Because, after all, who would want to know who we really are deep down?
Just yesterday I was talking with a friend (OK, a cute guy). I was joking that just one grown-up drink or two (I rarely drink) is enough to make me a “truth teller” and my whole life story comes out.
“That’s funny,” he said to me, “I don’t see how you could be much more transparent than you already are.”
WOW. That may have been the most amazing thing anyone ever told me about me. I was really proud of myself in that moment, no lie.
Because being transparent isn’t easy.
Anyone can do it, but that doesn’t make it easy.
My friend Brian recently sent me this quote from a movie called “Molly” (a chick flick that somehow eluded me):
I think that’s what I find most strange about this world… that nobody ever says how they feel… they hurt, but they don’t cry out… they’re happy, but they don’t dance, don’t jump around… and they’re angry, but they hardly ever scream, because they feel ashamed… and nothing’s worse than that. So we all walk around with our heads looking down, and never look up to see how beautiful the sky is…
(Thank you, Brian.)
Funny enough, really living your truth (with all attribution of this term to my BFF ElizabethPW) is not about indifference and a thick skin. It’s not about not caring.
It’s actually the polar opposite: Living your truth is about being vulnerable and scared and uncertain and soft and open. It’s about knowing you will get hurt and scared and messed up and stepped on. It’s about knowing that everyone else — EVERY SINGLE ONE OF YOU — is also getting hurt and scared and messed up and stepped on. And it’s about acknowledging that we all care a whole hell of a lot.
And, quite frankly (because that is the only way I know how to be at this point), by showing everyone else how f*ucked up your head or your life for that matter may very well be at any given moment actually gives way to the most wonderful life imaginable.
It also will cement the fact — in your eyes and to everyone else — that you have strength and brilliance beyond what you ever imagined.
Your light is so freakin’ bright it is blinding me. Please keep it that way.