Thursday, November 11, 2010

On Living an Authentic Life

“We all have a face that we hide away forever and we take them out and show ourselves when everyone has gone.  Some are satin, some are steel, some are silk and some are leather.....” Billy Joel, The Stranger

I think I’ve mentioned a couple of times now that I was a theater geek in high school and  I used to have masks like this on the wall in my bedroom only mine were prettier.  I loved them.  They were one of my first purchases for myself, with my own money.  It is suitable that I found them today because of a bee that has been in my bonnet since Sunday morning and especially noisy in there in light of the honesty award from yesterday.  
What I’m getting at is that I am more ‘real’ here on my anonymous blog than I am in my 3D life.  Sunday morning I told Darling Husband that I am a fraud.  He wrinkled his forehead in that thoughtful way that I love and asked where I got that idea.  So I explained thus - 
Me: You know my blog?
Him: Of course. 
Me:  I’m more honest about who I really am there than I am in real life with the people we know.  
Him: That’s because you are afraid of their judgement. 
Me: Yep.  
Epiphanies often start subtly.  A single idea.  A small grain of truth that like the irritant grain of sand inside an oyster becomes a pearl.  I am a not authentic with the people I deal with in my 3D life because I don’t believe that they will love me and accept who I really am.  The once theater geek, who likes to drink vodka, swears occasionally (or more than occasionally), yells at my kids, makes fun of people behind their back (but only when they are seriously deserving jackasses), likes to fuck her husband regularly, loves to read erotica, and is a democrat.  Yes, that’s right, I said a democrat damn it.  
I have had conversation about this with a friend, and she knows who she is, just today.  I do get that there is a difference between being a fraud and being polite and non-confrontational in public.  But I’m not just talking about being ‘in public’.  Most of the people who I count as ‘friends’ are church friends who, if they knew what is behind the mask I wear, would want to perform some sort of spiritual intervention, laying on of hands and praying the demons out. Problem is, I’m pretty sure I’m not full of demons.  
Do I have flaws?  Of course.  Do I have bad habits?  You bet I do.   Do they make me a bad person?  I don’t think so.  I‘m a devoted mother (no, really, I am - don’t laugh), I’m a passionate and loyal wife, I’m a great employee (oh, right, I work for myself), a loving and caring friend who will go to the ends of the earth to help if I can, and a dutiful daughter.  I fulfill all of my roles properly even if they aren’t always with complete authenticity.  The only person in my 3D life who gets to see the real me without any masks is Darling Husband.  He has proved to me through the good, the bad and the ugly that he loves me just for who I am.  The strange sense of humor, the odd references, he gets it.  He gets me.     
So this post may lose me some followers and if it does, I get that.  But in light of yesterday’s award I want you who are still with me to know that you guys get the very best and most real part of me.  I’m so honored that there are 32 of you who are interested in what I have to say.  I never imagined that it would be so.  All I have to offer is my most authentic and sincere thanks to all of you.  
So, now it’s your turn.  How do you feel about living life authentically?  Do you always be true and honest about who you are and damn the consequences or do you prefer to keep parts of yourself private?


  1. Lovely post and congratulations on the award! I don't think that makes you a fraud I think it makes you a human being. It's so much easier to be honest with people anonymously. I think. I like what Oscar Wilde said (usually do):
    "Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth."
    I find this to be true about myself at least. In fact none of my family or friends even know I have this blog and that says something in itself I think.

  2. I'm pretty much the same all the time. I think the people in my real life get the real me more than the people on my blog. Just because I try to keep it light on my blog and my real life isn't always rainbows and sunshine. My BF and friends get to hear the not so awesome stuff that I don't share with my readers.

  3. This is what I love about your blog. Although this is personal, it is most certainly relatable.

    I don't have many friends anymore. The only person who understands me is my boyfriend, like your husband understands you. I feel as though a mask comes over me at times, during school hours. On my lucky days I don't worry about what people think of me. Not in a rude way, either. Sometimes I'm afraid to write things in my blog, in fear of losing readers (losing blogger-friends.) I know I come off as being the "Honest Scrap" but only about environmental/political/educational things. Not so much personal.

    Anyway, thanks for this post. It has given me something to think about. And by the way, I've had those theater masks too!

  4. Thanks for your quick comments. Sometimes when you post a blog it's kind of like laying yourself bare and waiting to see if you get a response. Like being the first to say 'I love you' in a relationship.

    Sam you are right, and Oscar Wilde didn't get to be a recognized playwright for being a doofus. I appreciate your thoughts.

    Jumble, I think that you are incredibly fortunate to have people in your life that you can be the real you with. I wasn't trying to be all heavy in my post, it is just that I'm all about being honest and dealing with my junk. I'm just fortunate enough that others care enough to read it.

    Lettuce Head, I *heart* you. I just read your post about changing lives earlier today. Yes, I know I'm slow on the uptick. But understanding now, what your boyfriend means to you I get it more. To have that one special can mean everything. I think that my posting about something so personal is due to the fact that it sometimes makes me feel lonely and a bit disconnected from even the people that I call 'friends' because even they don't really know me.

  5. I loved your post. Isn't that why we got an honesty award? Because we are honest. I am what I am all the time but there are some things that I feel no one needs to know except a few close people. Not because I'm hiding. I know their limits on certain things and why make them upset with telling them something that would upset them? That's my take anyway. Enjoying your blog btw.

  6. Great post. For me, I'm pretty much myself all the time. I'm very unapologetic about who I am. If people don't like it, I don't want to be with them. Life is too short to waste time pretending to be someone I'm not.

    I don't think you'll lose followers for being honest. I mean, if you were a pedophile or something and shouted that out on your blog...yeah, you'd lose followers but you are who you are and there's nothing wrong with that.

  7. i have too much to say about this to put in a comment. i smell a copycat blog coming up tonight.

    i will say this: i want to say i'm myself ALL. THE. TIME. i know it is a lie. and i think that makes it okay. i know there is a steph gas that is acceptable to the in-laws - i don't get all pagany and ranty and depressed. or i try not to. to me, it's the same as how i can come home and take my pants off and walk around in my underwear (sorry, mom, but i fell out of your vag - you can deal with it) but i won't do that at my dad's house. or brother's. or really anyone else's save for two friends who live in new york.

    there is real, naked, not-quite-fit-for-public-consumption steph gas, and still sort of real, safe to bring home to mom steph gas. and then there is get drunk and press your bare boobs on the window for the tourists to see steph gas.

  8. Thank you for sharing this. When I was younger, I cared more about what others thought of me, but not that much more. I used to have extremely low self-esteem, so once I finally came out of that, I didn't give a monkey's ass what people thought. And I still don't---mostly. I do hold back a little more now because I have to think about how my children will be affected. Other than that, I just try to be me.

  9. I love reading other people's blogs. It gives me a glimpse into their thoughts and life. I get to be apart of their thought process without being a part of their life. Yes it is much easier to be fully uncovered in blogs as well not because we are ashamed of who we are it's because need a place to vent. I like the benign objectivity from others not just to justify my train of thoughts but also to bounce ideas and pathways of situations off of! Its about the randomness, of almost having a super power of invisibility and peeking into someones life!

  10. I just left a comment on Steph Gas's blog about this topic and I know she got the idea from you.
    I wear a mask. I am a people pleaser. I lost myself but I am in the process of finding myself again. But I will keep the mask of blogging in secret because it is simpler.

  11. I appreciate everyone's support more than you know. I think that the real underlying purpose behind my writing about this is that I am a people pleaser to the point that it goes beyond just being socially appropriate.

    I'm not trying to be poor me and I hope that my blog didn't come across that way. The fact of the matter is that I'm rather disgusted with myself for losing sight of who I really am. For allowing my craving for the approval of others to dictate my behaviors. All the time. I have to step up and stop being whatever it is that I think will make others happy. The caveat is that it is easier said that done. But they say that admitting there is a problem is the first step, right?

  12. Well, I have to say, I just don’t understand anyone who wears a mask! ;)

    I think being honest anonymously is a lot easier. Is for me anyway. Great post, and congratulations on the new, well-deserved award :)
    The enigmatic, masked blogger

  13. Coming to this conversation late via Kristine and Steph, but oh, resonates with me. Some of the same issues as you have with church friends. And not because they're judgey...they'd love me just the spite of my faults. And I'm sure they'd pray for me.

    My "being authentic" comes in the form of being honest. I may not tell all the truth, but what I post on facebook and on my blog is true. If I'm going out to a bar (sadly, rare), or craving a margarita, or reading a book that doesn't fit the "church" idea of right, I still post it. But there are things that I find funny that I don't always post, again because of the audience.

    I don't think that being authentic requires full disclosure. My blog isn't anonymous, and I've posted links to it on my facebook page from time to time, so my boss and family all have access to it. I'm a teacher, so while I'm not out doing anything illegal (or really, all that interesting), I definitely watch what I put because I happen to like being employed. And I try to respect the privacy of my family. There are things that they may not want shared with the whole world (or that small part of that who stops by my blog). Does that make me inauthentic? I hope not.

    And while I try to generally be pretty positive on facebook and blog posts, I also try to be real. And this is already waaaay too long. Sorry.