In any path to success lecture, you might hear the words “Fake it til you make it.” I’ve never understood the dishonesty in that. I would rather succeed being true to who I am instead of succeed hiding behind a mask. Yet, I still find that others have a perception of me that is so far from who I really am at the heart of who I am. Social media can sometimes over-glamorize and mistake our true identities with all the pretty pictures and highlight reels we share with the world, but today I want to take the mask off of what you might think is “me” and open up a few vulnerabilities of what is actually me.
I’m really inspired by the Colbie Callait song “Try” below that I feel is such a beautiful empowering message every woman needs to hear. She performed it last night on Dancing With The Stars to go along with Bethany Mota’s dance about finding the confidence to believe in herself after being bullied, and by the end of the dance, I was in tears at her bravery to stand up for such an important message more people need to hear. And yes, like in this video below, I’m guilty as any for going to the effort to put on make up and do my hair to feel like the best version of myself that I present to the world, but I never want it to be a mask I hide behind.
So here’s me doing what Colbie did, stripping away a few layers of my heart to reveal a few things you might have wrong about the “me” you see on social media:
1. I’m an extreme introvert.
And it’s funny to me how so many tell me they think I’m an extrovert. Social media has a way of doing that I guess, where people perceive people one way, whether that’s actually they way they are or not. And in person, I’ve even been told that once people have gotten to know me personally, they realized upon first impression they mistook my shyness for snobbiness, and I so so so hate that. I have to be cautious in practicing the art of trying to introduce myself to others first to avoid that awkward misinterpretation of me. While deep down I’m an introvert, at the same time, I’m a risk taker, and I certainly can have my extroverted moments when they are required, but I would much rather prefer one-on-one to any group setting any day… and prefer a night in snuggled up watching a movie than attending a huge party. I’m learning to embrace that we are each wired differently, especially being married to an extreme extrovert, and we each have unique gifts to contribute to the world as a result of it. I love books like this that help me realize, there’s power in being introverted just as much! Afterall, Einstein, Speilberg, and J.K. Rowling were all introverts, and where would the world be without their inward thinking genius? Introverts unite!
2. Each day is a battle to feel confident.
I recently received an email from someone thanking me for helping them to be more confident and glam through my own confidence they were inspired by, and my first reaction? I laughed and thought “What confidence?” As I shared with her, behind the scenes, confidence is actually something I struggle with a lot. That courage to keep chasing dreams, to keep taking risks, to rise above criticism and to stay confident in the Lord when my faith is trembling. I don’t believe I *am* confident, but I do *choose* confidence just like I must choose joy, faith, hope and love, even when I don’t feel like choosing any of the above. I wish I could say I’m born with a natural confidence, and I admire those who are, but I’m humbled that my lack there of can still be used to inspire you to be your most beautiful and confident and glam self. Really, the bottomline is, I’m just a normal girl with normal emotional rollercoasters and it’s a fight each day to believe that even through all the bad, we are each capable of leaving this world a more beautiful place than we found it.
3. Most days I work in my PJs. Or sweats.
Those adorable #outfitoftheday posts I do? Those are just the days I actually get dressed. Most days I’m at my desk still wearing PJs or sweats and keepin’ it comfortable. And those days, I’m definitely not beautified to be Instagrammable.
4. Every year I live in fear of something showing up on my mammogram given my family history.
Once a year, I get super nervous and stressed and my head fills with doubt and fear because it’s “that” time of year to get my annual mammogram. A lot of you were with me when I blogged about my losing my dad to lung cancer, and a few years before that, my mom survived stage 3 breast cancer. And a few years before that, her mother survived stage 1 breast cancer. Cancer has consumed my family, both direct and extended, and I’m doing my best to live life to the fullest because as the saying goes, you just never know…. I recently just had my yearly mammogram, and am relieved to say I’m another year down of nothing to worry about.
5. It’s been a long journey to motherhood.
And more tears than I ever imagined crying as we fight the good fight that we never imagined would be a fight we would have to be in. You never expect to be “that” couple. It’s a grief no one can quite prepare you for that challenges everything you believe in and is one of the hardest journeys I’ve ever been on. There’s so much more I could say on this topic, but it’s a topic I’m keeping private for now. If you are someone going through this battle also, just know, you aren’t alone. And here’s a virtual hug from me to you.
6. Before you judge me, please know, I’m just human too doing the best I can.
Another thing I hate about social media/forums/blogs is the freedom it gives people to be downright cruel. Having been a blogger for about 10 years, I have been through my fair share of criticism over the years, and I’ve watched other friends go through the same. I’ve seen some of the sweetest people I know get torn upside down online for the sake of others tearing them down. Why is that necessary? What does online bullying accomplish? If you don’t like the person, stay off their social media, instead of wasting your time and energy hating them. Simple as that. I used to look at Hollywood celebrities who complained about paparazzi and thought “Well you brought it on yourself, you choose to put yourself in the spotlight,” and I understand I choose to live my life openly through blogging the past decade, but Hollywood celebrity or normal person who has a blog, it doesn’t give others the right to be cruel.
I don’t believe I *am* confident, but I do *choose* confidence just like I must choose joy, faith, hope and love, even when I don’t feel like choosing any of the above.
I love seeing people like Taylor Swift belt out her anthem for “Shake It Off”, because as she said when she first released the song, “I’ve learned a pretty tough lesson that people can say whatever they want about us at any time, and we can not control that. The only thing we can control is our reaction to it.” Just because someone didn’t live up to your expectation of them, doesn’t mean that’s the truth about them. We each have a heavy cross we carry, of battles we are fighting behind the scenes, and before you judge that Hollywood celebrity or a normal person with a blog, try asking what you can do to have more compassion for that criticism you want to vocalize and leave behind to try to ruin their day. We are all just trying to do the best we can, and while personally I am not perfect, I do serve a perfect God, and I am grateful for His grace to continue loving me through all my imperfections, just as He loves you through all of yours. We are all just trying to live out our dreams, let’s celebrate that instead of tear each other down.
So I hope that by me stripping away a few layers above, that it can help inspire you to be the most authentic version of you that you can be. You are beautiful exactly how God created you, and I hope next time you look in the mirror, you can understand that your every detail takes His breath away. Embrace the real you. And the right people will love that version of you the best.
Now I want you to take your first step to take the mask off… leave me a comment and tell me one thing people might not know about you, or one thing people might have mistaken about you. I want to know the real you.