Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Fake It Till You Make It

I had a friend come over the other day, crying and upset, because her life is not going the way she wants it to. As she sat on my couch, dabbing tissues on her eyes, she began to tell me how I can't understand what her life is like now, how no one could.
I nodded, and agreed; no one could know what her life is like, because no one else is living her life but her.
But then she started to tell me how jealous she is of my life, how easy I have it, how I'm living her dream. And no matter how I tried to tell her it's not true, that my life is no basket of cupcakes, she wouldn't take my word for it.
So I let her in on a few simple truths. Things about my life I don't like to talk about. And by the end, I had her crying over me. All she could say was, "that is so sad."
Moral of the story? Don't ever, EVER, think you know how good (or bad) a person has it. You don't know. You can't know. And there is no point in trying to figure it out. All you can do is lead your own life the best you can.

But still, if I could, I'd send her the following letter:

Dear Friend,
Great news! I know what ails you. Only...I don't know how useful this news will be, because I don't know if it can be of any use to you.
You see, all of us go through life having to tell ourselves little lies, small warps of the truth, just to get by. These lies are about our families, our homes, life in general...but most of all, these lies are about ourselves. We tell ourselves these lies so we can get through the day, the quarter, the rest of the year...we tell ourselves these lies so we can can through life without screaming.
We are, all of us, to a certain extent, having to "fake it till we make it." But that phrase doesn't do the deception justice.
We fake it to live.
But you, my dear, can see past the lies. You are too honest to yourself for your own good; you are unwilling to fool yourself into believing what must be swallowed and accepted in order to live, at least live as a functioning member of society.
I'm sorry if this sounds morbid, or depressing, or too horrible for you to accept. It is what it is. The world is a fucked up place. We are a bunch of fucked up people. We lie to ourselves to get through the day.  You must accept the lies, see the world as it needs to be seen and not as it exists, if you want to be happy.
Facing the truth might make you feel noble, and wise, and superior, and the truth is, you probably are. But this will not make you happy. You must pick your priorities.
There will still be times when the truth unveils itself, and then the screaming in your head will go on for a while. But you must learn to press back down the veil. Let the screaming fade to the back. Do what must be done.
Because the truth is, the rest of the world does not want to hear your screaming. We recognize it all too well as like our own.


  1. No. I refuse to accept that. I told myself little lies for years trying to pretend to be happy in my marriage, but it wasn't until I stopped pretending, faced the cold hard truth, and did something to change things that I found my happiness again. I will not sit idly by and lie to myself anymore in an attempt to stay functional. I will not lie to myself to trick myself into thinking I am happy. When I am unhappy, I analyze until I find the source of the unhappiness. If I can change that thing or my relation to that thing, I will. If I cannot, I will adjust other things until the unhappiness is diverted, but I will not lie to myself about it anymore. I did that for years and it damned near killed me.

    Stay SINful
    Mr. AP

  2. I think we are talking about different things. If you can change what is causing your unhappiness, then yes, you should try to fix it. But there are more broader, wider problems in the world that we cannot do anything about.
    Sometimes, evil wins. Accidents happen. Children die.
    We cannot always cast our focus on these things, and still remain functional. We must sometimes focus on the little things, day to day life, and the beauties of the world we can find.

  3. Your letter was very beautiful - I enjoyed it. And I liked Mr. AP's response as well - so between the two of you, my day is now made. :)