One classic Instagram post I'm guilty of is the sunset. I love sunsets more than most things and people in my life. I usually post some elegant prose I found online along side my photo of the colors melting into the sea, and sure, that's fine. But is it the full truth? No, not really. Usually if I'm watching a sunset I'm probably looking for something, trying to run away for something, searching for answers, or just wanting to see something beautiful in the midst of a life that sometimes isn't. But how often do I write "Today I went to seek comfort in the sunset because I couldn't find it anywhere else," or "Even though this sunsets colors are gorgeous, I'm here because I can't seem to find beauty in my own life." That's real. That's raw. That's the truth. And I guess the reason why we don't want to tell the truth is because we don't think people can handle it, we don't think they want to hear it, we are afraid of being vulnerable. But what if everyone told the truth?
What if when someone asked you "how are you?" and instead of the robotic answer of "good! how are you?" you answered, "I'm really sad today," or "I got in a fight with my significant other and I'm really pissed off." The beauty of telling the truth is that people can relate to it. Sure, not everyone, but if you step out of your comfort zone and explore the idea of honesty, someone, somewhere, is feeling the EXACT same way and hasn't had the courage to speak up, or believes that they are alone. My creative writing professor told us that telling the truth is the most important element in non-fiction writing, and it stuck with me, because shouldn't telling the truth be the most important element in life? Think about all of the people in your life, acquaintances, coworkers, friends, family, how many of them do you REALLY know? How many non superficial relationships do you have in your life? And I don't mean to say they are fake, but rather how many of your relationships dive past the surface level stuff? For me, I can truthfully say not that many. Why? Well because I'm scared. Because it's hard. Because we create this persona that we present to the world that doesn't show all the parts of us. We are each a pie, and there are different slices of us that together form a complete pie. Some of those pieces of ourselves are ones we aren't proud of, or that are dark, or that make us different, but you aren't you without all the pieces. The one persona we present to the world isn't fully us, typically we try to make our lives seem perfect and bury the parts that could harm that facade. But the thing is, nobody is good 100% of the time. There are parts of us we may not want to recognize, but they're a part of us we have to acknowledge, and then discover why we are ashamed of it.
Think about your favorite books and movies, and the characters in them. Why do you fall in love with characters like they are real people? What makes you watch a movie over and over again? I can almost guarantee that it's not because they're perfect. It's because they tell the truth, it's because they're relatable. I cry every time I read The Catcher in the Rye because I can feel Holden's pain, because at times I see some of myself in him, because his feelings are palpable. I watch sad movies because I'm looking for some type of truth, something I can relate to, something that can help me understand not only myself, but life in general. Think about the people that you love in your life, why do you love them? As human beings we crave affection and connection, we need more than the shallow stuff. Chances are whether it's your best friend, your significant other, your sibling, your teacher, you love people who you can relate to, who you can talk to, who understand you and embrace everything you have to offer. And if you're like me, you're constantly searching for those genuine connections. But in order to develop meaningful relationships, in order to find people who feel the same way as you do, you have to be willing to tell the truth.
The other day I was talking with a friend and I decided to be truthful, I decided to tell them something about myself that I wasn't super proud of, and I was so petrified of opening myself up, of being vulnerable. But I told the truth, and you know what, my friend shared the same experience. And we had a real, open, and deep conversation about it and it was remarkable. And I didn't feel ashamed or less than or embarrassed, I felt understood, and that feeling is indescribable. I'm not saying to go around sharing your deepest darkest secrets with everyone you know, but there are people out there who are willing to listen and who understand your truth.
So I guess here are some truths about me, they're not glamorous, but they're real, and if people read this and judge me, then that's on them, because I am who I am and I'm tired of apologizing for it. Lately I've been watching One Tree Hill and I cannot get through a single episode without crying, like really ugly crying. It's the second week of school and I'm already exhausted, overwhelmed, and struggling. I may seem like the definition of an extrovert and a social butterfly, but the truth is every day I feel out of place. Every night I toss and turn because my thoughts keep me awake, most of the time they aren't pretty, they can be dark and I still haven't figured out how to deal with them. I'm 20 years old and I'm don't like to order food at restaurants or eat in front of people because I was made fun of so much for my picky eating growing up. People think I can take jokes well, but most of the time they really hurt me. I always try to dress nicely to counter how messy I feel on the inside. And the biggest truth I have to say is this: I don't know what the fuck I'm doing. I don't know who I am or who I want to be, and even if I did, I wouldn't know how to get there. I don't know what I'm going to do with my future and I don't even know if I'm on the right path. I'm still learning every day and I'm doing the best I can with what I have and that's just going to have to be enough. But one thing I do know for sure, is I'm sick of hiding parts of myself from the world, and no matter how hard it may be, I'm ready to start telling more of the truth.
What truths could you tell?