Why do I pretend? I'm tired of pretending. I want to stop pretending but it's become such an ingrained habit in me, I don't know where to begin. It makes me feel sick sometimes, the way I shove that little girl in me down, yell at her to be quiet and quit her crying. "I'll give you something to cry about" I say to her, echoing the words of my father from years past. I can't have weakness in me. I can't let anyone see how truly frightened and alone I feel. That just won't do. I have to steel myself against the blows life brings. There's expectations too I need to fulfill. People expect me to be funny, happy, laughing, bubbly, cheerful, a leader, a mature Christian... If I let them down, I'm afraid I'll lose companionship. And there's so much in the world to be depressed about, I can't add to the pain. I have to be what people need. Because I need those people to need me. I need to have a role to play.
But I'm so tired of it! This mask is suffocating me! It's beginning to meld into my skin and now I wonder how I will be able to tell who is really me, and who is the mask? Oh God! Ever since I got back from Africa, I've struggled with this masked society of ours. I see how those around me look at one another, judge one another out of their fear and I bought into that fear. And I started judging too, and I toyed around with a mask or two, wanting to know what it feels like to live someone else's life. It's not at all that I despise the life I have. That's the infuriating part. I love the life I have. I feel very blessed by it. So why would I go and play pretend??
I marvel at the ones I meet who freely show their true selves. They seem so free and peaceful. I long for that courage. And for that freedom and peace. I know I've been that kind of person before. I just don't know how to get back there.
So, here's the thing. I'm giving it up. I'm done. This is stupid. We all experience fear, loneliness, hope, disappointment, hurt, love. I don't want to pretend that I'm always fine when more than half the time it's a ruse.
And here's how I'm going to start. By admitting to you, friends, that I sincerely doubt my ability to make a difference in anyone's life and I'm a lot afraid to go back to Africa and try to help people whose lives are steeped in suffering. I don't know what I have to offer, especially since I have been somewhat estranged from Jesus who is the source of all the love, goodness, peace and sustenance that people need. That I need! We all need Him! All I have is hope in a God who is truly bigger than my mixed up self. And I have a very minute, mustard-seed size faith in Him, which I hope He will make grow into an enormous, full, leafy tree that will provide shade and health and beauty.
And I want to tell everyone I'm sorry for being a phony. Maybe if we all try to be more like who we really are, we won't need these silly pretenses. Maybe we can help eachother to be True.
I think that's it for now. I needed to get that off my chest. Thank you to all my loved ones who continue loving me for me. I love you for who you really are too, as super corny and cheesy as that sounds! It's TRUE!