I have 1 confession to share with you today but, stay tuned, there are more to come…
Confession No. 1: In the first year of marriage I once polished off an entire box of Girl Scout cookies and had to make a quick, secretive run to the store to buy another so as not to alert my husband to this appalling fact. (Side note: the end of that story might be eerily similar to the beginning thus perpetuating a viscous cycle of 6 returns to my local grocer. Just kidding. Wait, am I…?)
I have found the best way to be less than authentic is to hide. Hiding doesn’t necessarily mean lying but it does reveal a lack of willingness to divulge the truth. In order to be authentic we must first be honest; with ourselves and with those with whom we share our lives. I think it’s difficult to reveal our struggles and faults to the people closest to us. Even more difficult, in fact, than revealing these parts of ourselves to strangers. I love my husband. Oh, so much. I love him so much that I want to share the best parts of myself with him. I want him to think of me in the highest regard; to adore me in a way that doesn’t involve thinking, “Oh, she is so wonderful. She ate 7 boxes of Thin Mints and was still so thoughtful as to go to the store just so she could share a cookie or two with me! She is so wonderful. I hold her in the highest regard”. Had he known about the Great Cookie Mishap of 2006 (prior to this very moment) I doubt those would have been his thoughts…probably more along the lines of, “How much did you spend???” And, yes, I gave it a name. So what? An event in which one person consumes more than one box of cookies gets its own name, deservedly so. Now, why didn’t I tell him about that one box of cookies I downed myself? (Really, I’m fairly certain there was only one…okay, I’m not entirely sure but I’m going to give myself some credit) I didn’t tell him because I used to be a serial hider. I hid. Often. From my husband, my family, my friends. From myself. I didn’t want anyone to see any of my weaknesses. I wanted to be better than that and since I wasn’t actually better, I pretended to be so. Being open about our weaknesses exposes us to an incredibly vulnerable position. It can be really scary and really freeing. Let me tell you something I’ve learned from years of hiding…
Hiding is exhausting, ineffective and stupid. I’ve grown tired. Tired of not being authentic. Tired of pretending and of giving off false impressions. Throughout the course of our lives we will all encounter different battles; battles that are unique to us and to our experiences with them. I know not yours and you know not mine. The common ground here is that each of us is dealing with something. Our battles are different and to varying degrees but a battle is a battle. I tend to think my struggles are worse and more embarrassing than what another may be enduring. Fear prevents me from sharing the real me. The truth is that unless I can find the strength to be truly authentic I cannot foster growth within myself or within another. We cannot truly have deep relationship with one another if we aren’t willing to take part in mutual authenticity. I cannot ask you to be in my life and take down your walls while simultaneously making sure the bricks that I am hiding behind are firmly in place. If my walls are up then they’re up. If I can’t be my authentic self with you then I cannot fully digest what you’re enduring because I’m more concerned with my own walls; distracted with the secrecy of my own battles. The walls are not one way. They’re either up or they’re down. They’re either there or they’re not. So, we have a choice… We can choose to reveal ourselves and share our weaknesses; to tear down our walls in order to build ourselves and others up or we can choose complacency, secrecy and superficiality. We can keep running in place; drowning in our own misery because we are too afraid to tell our story, ask for help and rebuild ourselves. Most of us have a desire and a need for intimacy; it’s something we crave and value and welcome but in order to reach such deep levels of relationship we must be willing to open up ourselves wholly and to be sincerely authentic.
I’m new to this path of authenticity. It’s something I’ve been purposefully pursuing for the past 10 months and one of the very reasons I started writing my book and this blog. I still worry about what my husband and family and friends will think of me. Everyday. I’m not sure those fears will ever dissipate; I believe them to be a part of our human nature but I want to conquer and overcome the fears that hold me back. I want to grow and thrive and be better. Better than I was yesterday. I want to strike that balance between complacency and discontent; between settling into bad habits and never feeling satisfied with anything. Let us break down those walls and eradicate those bad habits but also let us rest comfortably in who we really are and allow a spirit of contentment to wash over us. Who are we? Are we never ask for help, always have it together, never frantic robots? Or are we hurting, unfulfilled, confused, Girl Scout cookie overeating wanderers? I think you know what I am. I’m okay with it because I know I’m on the path. I’m working on it. Everyday. I may not ever fully arrive but if I can clock some miles on the path to authenticity then I’m moving in the right direction.
3 thoughts on “Confessions of a Chubby Girl | No. 1 An Attempt at Authenticity”
My favorite by far!