I didn't know I was someone who couldn't see themselves clearly. I've always prided myself on allowing myself to be exactly who I am, and to feel comfortable in my own skin. I've looked around at my friends and thought, "How can you not see how fully amazing you are?" There's a generosity that we hold for others that we don't always for ourselves. I know I've considered this many times. Today my therapist offered me an alternative word for "dork" which was "genuine." And I am sitting with this.
I spent last weekend with a friend who is about as genuine as they come. We hadn't seen each other in a number of years, but we fell into step as if there was no time between us. A genuine connection between two people who are fully able to be genuine with one another. There are so many life events and societal factors that cause all of us to retreat from our true selves, to step behind some easy facade that seems to be co-constructed by doubt, fear, and unease. When faced with a facade I recoil. It would be infinitely easier to hide behind something that's been condoned by society (or our perception of what's been condoned) as if we were teenagers who needed to wear the right brand of jeans in order to feel okay about ourselves. We've been taught this for so long. It's a challenge to not literally buy it all.
I'm turning 41 years old tomorrow. I'd like to believe that I don't need a facade (or botox or a butt lift). I'd like to believe that I won't worry ever again about what someone else thinks of me. I'd like to believe that I can move through life never doubting that who I am and what I do is just fine. I'd like to believe that everyone around me can do the same. Maybe the most generous stance I can take is to allow everyone else to sift through their own stuff as I do mine. I'd like to believe that the value of each of us is found in what makes us exactly ourselves, and what allows us to offer something new and unique to the world. The benefits to society would be exponential. I can't imagine what there is to gain from hiding.