I have a friend, we’ll call this friend, Awesome. I’ve known Awesome for many years now, consider Awesome to be a very dear friend, someone I would always stand behind and they would always stand behind me. But I wondered, how well do I really “know” Awesome? And, how well does Awesome really know me?
How often do we shed our fears and worries about looking like a broken person, and bare the true being we are to our friends? How often do we let them in, be our true self, and show the person we are. Not the person we wished we were, or the persona of what we think people want us to be, or the person we think we should be. But the real, broken, us?
Why do we hide that? Why do we cover ourselves with this veil of what we think the world thinks we should be? Or what we wished we were, but never could be? Why do we hide behind these ideals with even our closest of friends, partners, and God? We have taken the roads we have for a reason, have become the person we are for a reason. Why do we hide our battle wounds, instead of wearing them so that others can see our true self?
We all have this conception, this idea of who we should be. I, should be the perfect soccer mom. With homemade dinners, laundry always done, house cleaned, homework never forgotten, and freshly baked treats for my family. I should be smiling, always seeming happy, and a welcoming vibe to those around me. A proud PTA member, actively involved, of course. My kids have home sewn, spectacular Halloween costumes. My daughter is proud of me and strives to be like me. My son will grow and hope to someday find a woman with similar values as me. My husband is never disappointed in me, I am a rock for him, and I never let a distance grow between us. I should have it all together; the modern day June Cleaver.
That is the image I carried with me for years, this persona of the woman I should be. I’m a stay-at-home-mom, with a husband I love beyond any words could describe. I would die for my kids without a fraction of thought about it. I thought this new kind of June Cleaver is who I should be, yet I always failed in comparison to her. I was never going to be as smart as this ideal me I thought I should be. I curse, have bouts of road rage, there has been forgotten homework, I loathe the thought of joining the PTA, there have been crappy take-out dinners, cookies I promised to make still unmade, there’s a basket of folded laundry in the same spot for the last 3 days because I haven’t bothered to put it away, I watch shows that the June Cleaver me would shudder at seeing. I'm an introvert and would rather be a wallflower than strike up random chitchat with a stranger, I wouldn't even attempt at making a Halloween costume, and my daughter thinks I'm out of touch. I screw up, fall down, have deep set flaws, I’m a broken person and can never fill the shoes that I thought I should slip right into. I will never be the me, this ideal image, I had told myself I should be. I suck at it, and then beat myself up for failing to live up to these expectations.
But lately, as I’m getting back into my faith, and letting go of this guilt for not being who I thought I should be, I’m also letting go of the idea that there’s something wrong with my true self. And hiding her from others. I want my friends to really know me. I want to be my true self, to show my true self. That's not to say that I've been fake, a "poser" as they used to say, or mislead people about who I am. I have been me. But, I suppose you could say I only showed the surface of me, just revealing the top few layers, but never so deep as to show all my layers. But I as I step into this new understanding of who my true self really is, I wonder why I’ve hidden her for so long.
Sure, I will never, ever reach the expectations of the persona I wanted to put out there. But I will always strive to be better than I am. And I will always know that God loves me and sees me as valuable just as I am – a broken woman. I see my true self, and I don’t want to hide her anymore. I don’t want anyone to hide their true self. I want to really know my friends. Who they are, and how they’ve come to be this person. I want to know what scares the crap out of them, what inspires them, what they value, and the story behind their journey of becoming who they are.
I am a broken person, flawed, incapable of being the best at anything, but I will be my true self. I will work to make it better. I will fall, fail, and stumble. But it’s how many times you get back up, and what you do once you’re standing that matters. As I come to learn, understand, and embrace the idea of my true self and letting others see her, I pose the question to you – how often do you let others see your true self? How well do people that know you, really know you? Do you hide your true self, your journey of how you’ve become who you are? Why?
I am who I am because I’ve been down the paths God set before me. No matter how smooth, or hard the path may have been. Those steps, that journey, has shaped me to who I am. I will love her, just as God loves me unconditionally. I will let her be seen. I will work to make her better. And I ask of you, to lift the veil, to forget the image you project, or this ideal woman you think you should be – and embrace – you. As-is, a total mess or totally normal, your true self. Let her shine….