As children, we go for what we want. We don't yet understand repercussions. And teasing and hurt and pain doesn't exist yet - or at least it doesn't matter. Then life teaches us. And our parents tell us to look both ways before we cross the street.
Slowly we come to fear everything. We fear rejection. We fear pain. We fear ridicule. We fear so much about not getting what we really want that we drive ourselves to madness skirting the things we want most - because it's those things that are likely to bring the biggest risk.
It took me a while, but I realize that the fear from adolescence and everything I've been taught about fear is hogwash. I realize that when my step-dad told me in August, "I learned [in Vietnam] not to live in fear. It's stupid.", that he's right. It is. It truly is. And if we drive ourselves mad trying to avoid what we fear, how can we ever really be happy?
I've hidden truths many times in my life. Most recent and extended, I spent a long time hiding what was really happening in my life in my last relationship. And purchasing smiles. And hoping beyond hopes to laugh again. Then, finding the strength to leave something I put so much into with someone I still loved (but knew I was better without). Regardless of my fear of admitting failure and my fear of being alone again and my fear of going back to the start, I did it. And I found myself again. My smiles became mine again and my laugh is genuine. I'm a better person for it (...and he still sends me flowers on my birthday!). I love my friends and my life is a happy one. I know that these times don't last; but how did I get here? I must have done something right.
Thinking back to my most unhappy times, they are chalk full of me pretending to be someone/thing I'm not. And I think my most happy times in life can be attributed to being honest...and letting go to be able to be myself. I lost that recently again trying to hide from something I feared, but I was finally honest with myself again. (Which is great because it made me realize how insane it comes across when I'm not saying what I really want and hiding the truth.) So I said "fuck it" and I wrote down the truth; it could not have been more sincere and it was from the heart. And you know what I did? I let it be read. And so far, I'm still here. I have peace of mind. And I'm not afraid. I'm not lying anymore - and now I can just go on being myself. And I feel so fucking free.
So the next time you don't feel so free, Self, and your smiles aren't genuine and your laughs don't throw your head back: Just be honest. It will set you free. And it feels a lot like love.