I don’t actually have a story to tell. This post isn’t about a story that happened to me or somebody else, it’s about the story we tell through our actions and words. Everyone has a story. And again, I don’t mean about the time they went to the strip club and that thing happened with the ping pong ball.
I mean the story of “Mary is a confident and mature woman” or “Todd is empathetic to the needs of others.” A lot of the time, the story we tell isn’t how we feel. In fact, Mary might be horribly insecure and hung up on trivial and juvenile things. Todd might not give a shit how anyone feels, but he hates confrontation so he just endures through it.
Our story we tell ourselves and the story we project will probably never lineup. We always downplay aspects of our personality, or exaggerate others, or sometimes completely ignore things. We all have secrets and private things we will never tell. That’s fine, we don’t have to be nor can we truly be 100% transparent with the world.
That doesn’t mean our story doesn’t matter. It’s best to have our persona reflect our true and authentic selves. We shouldn’t act as if we stand for one thing while our actions are a contradiction. That’s not always easy, especially when we hold feelings like guilt, or shame. How can we possibly talk about the importance of charity if we never contribute? Or how to hold a positive mindset when we only cling to the negative? How can we speak of healing when we refuse to address our own trauma?
I feel all of these things, and I often feel guilty and sometimes ashamed of putting on this public face that I know isn’t how I always feel. But how could I possibly feel positive all the time? Or happy? The fact is, I can’t. No one can.
So is it a farce to present myself that way? If I didn’t acknowledge the other side of the coin, I would FEEL dishonest. Shit, sometimes I am dishonest. There’s just shit I gloss over and don’t talk about, just like everyone else. I recognize that. The things we are dishonest about are almost always the things we feel guilt and shame about. The best way to avoid that dishonesty isn’t to tell the world you’re wrongdoing, it’s to stop doing it. The sooner you can cut that shit out, the sooner you can stop feeling guilty and ashamed.
When I stopped drinking, I made a conscious decision to give people the raw, uncut truth about my addiction and my struggles with my mental health. Nobody knows every corner of it, but they get the gist. This is probably the closest I can get to my true self with my public persona, and I’m cool with that.
We get to pick and choose what we present to the public. People like authenticity, and we have the opportunity to be honest with them. Your persona will never be 100% who you are, but rather a manufactured version of you. Just don’t put on a front like you’re someone you’re not. People can usually smell the bullshit, and if they can’t, it should eat you inside. I mean, I hope it eats you inside you lying prick. Not you, the other guy. You’re cool, THAT guy is a prick.