Living a Lie

Living a LieLife is hard.

I know that. I’ve been there, done that. My God, how I have been there and done that.

But now, now I’m the happy one, the one for whom life is good, so good. And it’s easy to forget that some people are just faking it. Just faking that happy face. Going about their jobs, their home lives, their times with family; the dial set to the comfortable smile channel, the easy laughter station.

Inside, though, they’re just a nudge away from tears, from breaking down, from screaming ’til the throat burns raw and it hurts just to breathe.

And they, these capable-of-winning-an-Oscar performers, what are they thinking? Have they fallen for the lie that says, "No one wants to hear about it"? Are they turning away from intimacy, from self-revelation, because, "No one likes a complainer"? Do they, like I once did, succumb to the thought that, "No one cares"?

And have we let them?

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UnashamedI am (by nature, inclination, and probably habit) indecisive. I’m better about making choices when given parameters. I was the kind of girl in high school who relished the creative writing projects that had specific outlines, even if the outlines were, in and of themselves, vague. “Write a Shakespearean Sonnet” was a no-brainer, even though I could write about anything. Likewise with dictums such as, “Write about your favorite breakfast,” since the form was deliberately vague. (I uprooted myself to Maui, and had it on the beach. The teacher never said it had to be a real breakfast!) So, when I heard about a new website called One Word Three Sixty Five where, instead of forming a list of resolutions to guide oneself through the year, I simply had to choose one word, my interest was instantly piqued.

Then came the hard part: choosing one word.

I’d pick a word, then discard it. That went on, over and over, for several days. I really thought about using the word unapologetic, but then I thought about how prone I am to apologizing to people when I’m sorry for things, like being wrong about something. So I kept pondering. I read postings where people submitted blog articles (like this one) about their chosen word, and I was crushed. I started thinking, all the good words are already taken. (There was no stipulation about that, I just didn’t want to feel like a copycat.) So I quit reading the blog articles. I still got the twitter updates, though, with their promises of fun and sharing. (I’m all about sharing. Maybe too much. Ha!) And I fretted. I finally picked one word I was happy with. I talked about it with friends. A blog article I read used it. But I couldn’t decide. What if I didn’t like it in a month? Was that important? Maybe not liking it was just as important as liking it. Hmmm…

But still, I refused to make the commitment. I kept trying on words for size. No, no, no. Too limiting. Not really me. Did I mean that? Maybe a word in German? (Man, if any language can combine various ideas into a single word, it’s German.) I wandered from angst to zeitgeist before I realized that using a word I had to think that hard about was probably not the direction I wanted to go in.

I kept coming back to the word. Maybe that was meaningful in itself? Finally, after two weeks, I’ve decided, and I’m unashamed.

Yes. That’s it. I’m unashamed. (I even wrote about this last summer, so it is something that I think about.) I don’t like regrets, though I have some. I don’t like apologizing, though I do, and often. I don’t like conforming, though I do that often enough, too.

But ultimately, I’m unashamed. I’m not ashamed of who I am, and who I’ve been, and what I’ve done, and where I’ve gone. These are all experiences that have shaped me. Perhaps I would’ve preferred being shaped by other experiences, but that’s too bad now. I can always choose to go in a different direction. But as for what I’ve done, and who I am? I‘m unashamed.

One Word 365And by the way, if the word picture at the top intrigues you, I did it myself. If you’d like one for yourself, let’s talk. Drop me a line.

P.S. A big thank you to Jon Acuff for giving me the idea for the word. It was his blog article that prompted it. The One Thing I Hope You Don’t Feel This Year.

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