It took pretty much most of life to drop my mask and be myself. You know, the mask many of us put on before stepping out into the world each morning. For years, I worked to stay on the path to perfection. And, if it didn’t appear perfect, I would just fake it until it became perfect. Never show emotions, people will use them against you. Always portray yourself as having it together, even when your life is really falling apart. Don’t ask for help or ever need anyone, people have ulterior motives and will think you’re weak. It wasn’t until a several years ago, that a major life challenge forced me to drop those facades. It’s exhausting pretending you’re okay and life is grand, when it’s not. We live in a society where only the beautiful and positive is accepted and everything outside of that superficial bubble is rejected and discarded. But the reality is this: I’m not perfect. NO ONE is perfect. I can’t parallel park. I’m socially awkward. I suck at math. I can’t dance on beat. I burn rice every time I cook it. And I seldom read articles on Facebook before commenting on them. Hey, it is what it is…this is me. But, over the years, I’ve learned to accept most of my shortcomings and I’m perfectly okay with them. I know, shocking right?
Since my mom’s unexpected death, I can notice the self-acceptance I’ve worked so hard to attain slowly becoming undone. I’ve always taken pride in being myself around people. This is me, this is how I feel…take it or leave it. But now, I just want to retreat and suppress everything. I try to avoid talking about my mom’s death or experience, because I don’t want to seem negative to other people. I try to pull back on expressing my disgust for this year, because I don’t want to appear ungrateful for the few good things that did happen for me this year. But it’s really not working. The reality is, I’m angry at the world. I’m jealous of people that had an amazing year. Damn it why not me?? I’m a good person. I envy those that will have their moms for the remainder of the holidays. Why my mom? I’m pissed that my Dad is spending their 43rd wedding anniversary week picking up her ashes from a funeral home. Who knew God could be so cruel? I’ve tried to do all of the new age Louise Hay and Wayne Dyer positive affirmation talk, but it’s failing me miserably. Sorry but, “yeah, even though I watched my mom slowly suffocate to death on her own fluids for two weeks and watched her entire body swell up 3 times its normal size, I did take a pretty dope trip to Iceland in April #grateful #byehaters #blessingsonblessings” just doesn’t resonate with me. I mean, it sounds all warm and fuzzy, but the truth is, my 2016 sucked. It is what it is. And, I will not put on fake façade and pretend to have the resilience of Superman to make you comfortable. If my authenticity disrupts your happy, then keep it moving. No love lost. I totally understand. Just like Marilyn Monroe, if you can’t accept me at my worst, then you don’t deserve me at my best. BTW, I really hate that quote, it’s so corny. I mean, did she even really say it?
Anyway, the take away is this: it’s really okay not to be okay. If someone ask how you’re doing and you say “life sucks, but I’m dealing with it” and they don’t like it, then they shouldn’t have asked. You might lose a few people, and if you do that’s okay…they weren’t for you to begin with. When people really care about you and your well-being, they help you through the bad (especially, if you’re helping yourself), they don’t just show up when all is well within your world. In the interest of clarification, this doesn’t mean you have to treat random strangers and casual acquaintances as if they’re your personal therapist and pour out your heart. And, this doesn’t mean that you should keep yourself in a negative space. It is possible to motivate yourself while remaining true to your real feelings. It’s detrimental to your healing and recovery. Pretending to be okay when you’re not and trying to please everyone else’s comfort level will eventually give you a mental breakdown. Some of the biggest pretenders who seem like they have it all together are just one Instagram click and post from seeing the inside of a room with white padded walls. As much as we don’t want to accept it, we’re human. We hurt. We cry. We get disappointed. We get jealous. We fail. We lose. And through it all, with work, dedication, the love and support of those close to us, we eventually get over it and get up again. Anyone who believes otherwise either just won the lottery or is medicated on heavy does of benzodiazepines. Life is composed of duality and we can’t embrace the light without acknowledging and respecting the dark.
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