“This year I am not making a resolution to change anything. Instead, I resolve to be more of who I already am.”
The above quote is the resolution I made at New Year's 2012. I believe it's been a success, though it's taken more than a single year to get results. Circumstances – both uplifting and debilitating - have aided in the migration from “circumstantial mask changing” to slowly throwing each mask in a refuse heap. It's not an easy task being genuine in all conditions and it is very, very easy to retrieve a mask from the waste bin when the excrement hits the fan.
I looked back over some of the old posts FaceBook was kind enough to pop up and remind me of at the end of the year; some painful, some joyous, some painful that turned out to be okay and some that seemed joyous and had a bitter aftertaste. None of those moments were a waste of energy. Every single one was purposeful. My choices were to remain real or to fetch a mask as quickly as possible.
Destiny is nothing more than a destination... an ending. Choices – which we are free to make - determine the bumpiness of the road.
There are times when we may slip off the path we have chosen. Sometimes we are pushed. It's easy to put on the “brave face” mask at times like those. I consciously remind myself that a step off the path for whatever reason is the way the Universe tells me it's time to reflect, rest and be accountable. One day - good or bad - does not a life make. The real trick is to show up for real every day. Showing up for real means sharing those “bad” moments (which often aren't as bad as they seem) as well as the good without putting on a social mask.
Sharing without an agenda of needing is important.
Social media is a place to connect, presumably. It's certainly a place to keep tabs on those we care about; to know what is happening in their lives. However, it isn't real on a couple of different levels. Firstly – and most obviously – there is nothing like the connection of looking into someone's eyes as they speak or hearing their voice or walking side-by-side on an adventure or seeing the same shooting star.
I'll take a phone call over a "like" click any day.
Secondly, most of us tend to share the good things or the things we feel strongly about. Seldom do we share those moments when we are sad or scared or lost. There have been many studies finding that reading social media is a depressant because we ultimately end up comparing ourselves to all of the good things happening to others with the idiotic notion that everyone's life is better than our own.
So... this is the year of showing real without fear or agenda.
Fear makes you foolish in your choices and skews your thoughts. Fear of being alone, fear of death and fear of loss are huge. Fear of being vulnerable and appearing "less-than" is bigger. No-one wants the rest of humanity to think they are weak. Being vulnerable is scary shit. It's the biggest risk anyone will ever take.
Without agenda or belligerence, I think it's important that both sides be shown on social media and, more importantly, in the real world. If I'm sad, I'll say so. If I'm elated, I'll say so. If I love you, I'll say so. (Being in love is different. Just sayin'.) If I have something to say that may be taken the wrong way, then silence or a personal message or – wonder of wonders – an actual phone call is preferred.
The point is, it's more important to me to be real about how I feel than to only show the “good” side of my world or to put a mask on that keeps the perception of strength. It's also more important to me the persons I am connecting with be real as well.
It's more important to me to be real than to fear vulnerability.
If you're brave enough to ask me how I'm doing - face to face or on social media - expect the real answer and the chance to hear the story that goes with it.
The vulnerability train is leaving the station.