Unveiled.

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{This picture is from my elementary school, perhaps when the people pleasing really began. I mean, the uniform plaid jumper was definitely not my choice.}

“That night, I went to bed wondering if my personality was largely a reactionary construct, a mechanism I used to gain respect from the world. In other words, what if my act wasn’t who I was at all?”
-Donald Miller, Scary Close

Throughout my entire life, I’ve worn many different masks. As an actor and writer, I have always felt this innate responsibility to the world to perform…like I somehow owe it to you to have it all together…to only share the best messages…to have my best face on for you to see at all times. I fear burdening others with the mess and humanity that lies beneath the smiles and good manners.

Inside my brain, I will forever hear my 3rd grade math teacher, Ms. Krudsinger (not making that up), telling me to be on my best behavior. To be “good.” To be smart. Mistakes were not allowed. Questions not welcomed. My knee-high socks with British flags and blue nail polish baffled those who set the uniforms in place. I preferred journaling, writing songs, and humming in class over doing multiplication tables. Had I not followed the rules in her classroom, I would be sent outside to sit alone at the old, dirty, forest green picnic table, just waiting to give my butt splinters and for the army of ants to come carry my animal crackers away. Is that how I have lived my adult life? Afraid of being banished and unaccepted? Terrified of the splinters, ant bites, and discomfort that sometimes come with speaking up and being yourself? So I perform. I stay on my best behavior. And while I may be splinter-free, there is a deeper pain.

As Donald Miller so eloquently says, “The same thing that makes me a great writer also makes me terrible at relationships.” I’ve always been great at keeping people at a distance while simultaneously producing a false sense of intimacy. I want to make others happy…and certainly that wouldn’t be possible if they really knew me. This is where I get to try on different masks. These labels of false identity, they are all just different masks I wear to keep myself from having to expose the real me. We can get so caught up in one word, one tiny part of our lives, that we aren’t fully accepting the whole “us.”

Christian.
Actor.
Writer.
Model.
Daughter.
Sister.
Friend.
Single.
Girlfriend.
Fiancée.
Wife.

Letting people beyond the level of your Instagram and Facebook presence can be terrifying. What will they see? What will they know? And the ultimate question and root issue that stares me in the face as I shake in my boots {moccasins}…

“Will they still love me?”

It all comes back to the desire for love. Honest, unadulterated, unconditional love. Trusting others with knowing who we are is scary…it’s scary close. Because the truth is, everyone won’t understand. Everyone won’t love. Everyone won’t accept. We can’t please everyone. {I know this is simple, but for people pleasers, this is bigger than a few splinters to the butt.}

A few months ago at a retreat in Washington, I sobbed on the floor in the midst of many ladies {I REALLY don’t cry in front of people}. I felt naked. I was exposed. I couldn’t keep the facade up any longer. The incredible part of this was that these people still chose to do life with me…even when they knew I wasn’t perfect…even when they saw my pain…even when I was open about my flaws…even as I had snot coming out of my nose and puffy, red, tear-filled eyes, white flakes of Kleenex stuck to my cheeks.

Today, I am flying into Washington for another retreat where I am still on this journey. I would be lying if I said I had it all figured out…that I was ready to be 100% crazy, messy, weird me with everyone. It is scary. It is scary close, as Donald Miller calls it. But in just 5 months, I have watched this facade slowly chip away into something far more beautiful. It’s better because it’s real. Sometimes the story we are telling the world isn’t half as endearing as the one that lives inside us. I have relationships now with people who know the real me…and the insane part is, they love that strange, wild girl.

So, what if I stopped performing?
What if I dropped the perfectionist act?
What if I ended this second nature need to entertain and please others?
Would I still be loved?

Donald Miller says it best,

“I think this all ties in with the entertainer gene. Human love isn’t conditional. No REAL love is conditional. And if love is conditional, it’s just some sort of manipulation masquerading as love.”

Becoming unveiled, losing the facades, it’s insanely uncomfortable. It’s vulnerable. But true, authentic love and relationships are more important to me than having it all together. And those will only come from being true and authentic myself.

The fear of being alone, hurt, misunderstood, or getting a few splinters along the way should not stop us from being who we were made to be. I am willing to run the risk of being hurt occasionally if it means abundant life…unconditional love…being known…being unveiled.

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2 thoughts on “Unveiled.

  1. Pingback: » Unveiled.
  2. Love love love! You say so beautifully what so many of us are feeling. And it is so easy to keep our masks on in this crazy world of social media, and to keep people at arms length from the real you. I started this process a few months ago, trying to be real, not hiding my struggles, not hiding what I was really feeling, and, even though I don’t see my closest friends every day, I feel the most amazing peace knowing there are these lovely people who know the real me, and they’re still my friends, and our conversations pretty much go straight to the meaty stuff, no superficial surface chat! Blessings to you on your journey xx

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