On Authenticity

Today I logged onto Facebook for the first time in a couple of weeks. I have to do this for my sanity. I do communicate through personal messaging, but I limit my interactions on the newsfeed.

I had what felt like a million notifications. Since my last login, I’ve had a birthday, AND Gil and I celebrated our thirteenth wedding anniversary. If you read yesterday’s post, you might be asking, just as I am, if “celebrated” is the most accurate word.

I’m not a casual friend, lover, anything when it comes to relationships. I sincerely value those in my life, and it’s important for me to be as honest and sincere as I can. I am superbly blessed when it comes to friends. I’ve managed to stay in touch with pals from childhood, high school, former jobs, you name it. I also have good friends that I see in person regularly. Birthdays are humbling, for they are a time when I’m reminded how very blessed I am.

I am SO VERY GRATEFUL.

Sometimes I think that because I don’t have the greatest relationships with my family, my friends have taken on a bigger role in my life, and this has been the case for as long as I can remember. Even before my father died, I felt that I could never truly be myself in my family. I’ve had numerous people tell me that my demeanor shifts when I’m around most family members, particularly my mom. I hope this has improved with age. It’s something I have to work on.

As I get older, I have less and less tolerance for anything fake. Well, except maybe jewelry. Seriously, though, let’s just be who we are. Friends often comment that I’m a really real person. I tell it like it is, and there’s no pretense. I consider this a high compliment, but as I’m struggling with my marriage, it’s tough, because I have to be somewhat fake. I feel like I’m lying, which makes me feel all icky inside.

I spent this morning going through all the lovely comments on Facebook (that are slightly dated now). I am absolutely terrible about sending birthday greetings on Facebook, so I am amazed, humbled, and in complete shock that so many dear people took the time to send me such thoughtful, sincere messages. I did my best to respond, not merely to be nice, but because I legitimately wanted to interact with those who mean so very much to me. It was a good opportunity to check out friends’ pages and to catch up on what’s new in their lives. In these moments, I LOVE Facebook.

My anniversary was a few days later, and again, I was surprised to see how many friends took the time to send congrats to Gil and me. We don’t even have our anniversary listed on our pages, but lots of friends remembered anyway.

These were the hardest.

Some of the messages I received:

“Wishing a very special couple many more years of wedded bliss. You guys are the best!”

“I remember that hot summer day like it was yesterday. I would sweat through another day like that for you two anytime. Party like rock stars. Lots of love to you both!”

The well-wishes went on and on and on. And………..I feel like a big fat fraud and a failure.

Additionally, on our anniversary I also received some of the kindest, most thoughtful messages from Gil’s family members:

“It was the happiest of days when you joined our family. I couldn’t ask for a better niece-in-law, sister-in-law, cousin-in-law……” Just fill in the damn blank. They went on and on, and my shoulders slumped lower and lower. God…if they only knew what an asshole I can be.

Gil received his share from my side of the family as well, though in typical fashion my relatives took a few stabs at me:

“Happy Anniversary to a true gem. So glad you’re in our family. Never believed we’d find a dude who could tame her, but you did it, Buddy. Hats off to you!”

Um, yes. Whatever the fuck that’s supposed to mean. I had to share that one, but for the most part they were kind and of course mentioned what great people we were, and how it’s amazing when two good ones end up together.

I also responded to these messages, and I did my best to be gracious but real.

I didn’t gloat, “Yes, we are rather amazing, thank you very much. What bliss to have found my true soul-mate. Perhaps we should renew our vows. Oh how lovely it is to swim in this sea of wedded bliss.”

UGH!!!! This is so hard. I am not at liberty to discuss the problems in my marriage nor do I want to with the masses, but it’s tough.

I try my best to keep it real on my Facebook profile. Yes, I put pics of my cute kids (in moderation). I seldom update my status and when I do I try my best to not be vomit-inducing with my life.

I occasionally cringe when my camera-happy pals get a little tag-crazy and start slapping up less-than-flattering photogs of my crew and me, but I leave most of the pics up along with the better photoshopped ones that portray me in a more attractive light.

I do what I can to keep things balanced and not stress too much about it.

Isn’t that real life? I certainly think so. Everything is not beautiful and fabulous all the time, but it’s also not completely tragic and terrible.

I can’t worry about how my friends, family, and social media acquaintances view me. A powerful quote that I call on in hard times is one I first heard in my eating disorder support group. I’m not sure of its origin, but it’s powerful.

“When you know your truth, no one else’s opinion of you matters.”

Here’s what I do know. Gil and I are human. We’ve both made mistakes. I guess deep down I have to admit that I take a lot of pride in the fact that we’ve managed to stay married for so long. Somewhere along this journey called life, I took on the challenge of wife and mother. The “taming” that certain people referred to possibly had a lot to do with this, but along the way I think I lost a piece of my soul. People see what they choose to see.

No one saw that on the night of our anniversary we sat on opposite sides of our living room in silence, each of us staring at our electronic device of choice.

No one heard the pathetic joke Gil made about the nasty barbecue pit he considered taking me to to celebrate our “hormonal” anniversary.

No one saw that I didn’t respond nor did they see the tear that fell pathetically down my face as he cackled at his raunchy humor.

I’ve spent the last few days at home — writing, thinking, hiding.

Tomorrow I’ll go out with a great group of girlfriends to catch up on life and honor one of us who’s moving across the country.

I will shower, pull out a happy little outfit, and apply some makeup for a change.

There will be laughter. There will be tears. This, my friends, is real, authentic life, I suppose — a healthy dose of joy and pain.

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2 thoughts on “On Authenticity

  1. I’ve forgotten how amazingly beautiful you are. The words & emotions you leave raw on the page resonate with me from another time. I Facebook as infrequently as you do & have also experienced the grating belief that I was living a fraudulent life. Thank you for sharing as freely as you do. I’ve updated my notifications to “immediately” tell me when you’ve got a new post up. Looking forward to tagging along.

    “When you know your truth, no one else’s opinion of you matters.”
    Beautifully said!
    Love, Lehua

    Like

    • Thank you so much. Sometimes I ramble, but it helps me sort out the gazillion thoughts in my head. Your writing also portrays a beautiful person as well, and I enjoy reading your journey.

      Like

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