I’m a performer.

An epiphany from a conversation with a friend yesterday. Let me explain.

For most of my life I’ve made a career out of figuring out what people want from me, what pieces of me will make them happy, and giving it to them. Some would call this “acting.” Maybe. But actors act for the love of their art (at least those who are purists). I perform because I can’t stand the thought of disappointing anyone.

As if.

The thought makes me want to puke. And curl up in a ball and sleep for days with all the blinds pulled. I spent much of my teens and 20’s trying to be a good daughter, a good church girl, a good wife, a good student, a good friend, a good employee, a good … Trying, trying, trying. Though I usually accomplished what I put my mind to, I was ridiculously out of my league here.

My journey down the road of living real and authentic began the moment I realized the years of trying to become what I thought others wanted eclipsed the person I could’ve been. I’m still unraveling what “being real” means. I hear the phrase thrown around, but I’m not sure how many people are being real about being real. And though I know it’s a worthy pursuit, I also realize it comes with a heckuvalotuv responsibility. I’ll post more about that later. For now, here’s what I know:

  • Most people are sick and tired of any person or relationship or organization that seems plastic.
  • Most people will say they want the real you
  • Most of those, however, don’t know what do to with the real you. They’re too conflicted about how far they’re willing to take their own authenticity.

Ah, the rub. We want authenticity, but don’t know what to do with it. It makes us uncomfortable. We’re scared spitless to lower our own arms and bare our souls. Seldom do we expose our truest selves to those who have theirs safely covered up. If we do, we second guess and panic and retreat. And when someone else dares to drop the safety net…well, we second guess and panic and retreat.

When will we grow tired of the performance? When will we grow tired of performing?

And who’s gonna be the first to be real?