I’ve spent a great deal of my life lying. That is, hiding behind a fake smile so that others wouldn’t know how I was really feeling, what I was fearing, the shame and pain I was trying to bury in a shallow grave. And even after I was physically free from my past, I was still held captive by shadows of the way it had once been, whispers that taunted me with lies about myself. So I smiled on, pretending, waiting for that moment when the act would become real.
It is said that when you smile, even when you don’t feel like it, you might then actually begin to feel happy. I think this can be true, but not always. Not when your shoulders carry the weight of so much that went wrong (or is currently going wrong), not when your heart is heavy with grief.
Sometimes a smile just feels like a lie.
But sometimes? It’s at least a step in the direction of healing.
When the subject gets really hard, I run. I plaster on a smile and pretend I’m fine. Over time, that lie has melted away into more truth, and I realize I can embrace the ugly that was my past to bring something beautiful to fruition. The Tiara Project has gone from super active to dead in the water, an endless cycle — except, it does end. Today.
I’ve been faking courage and strength, but a funny thing happened along the way: I actually began to feel brave and strong. Brave enough and strong enough to face this project and GET IT TOGETHER. It’s not about saving the world, or saving anyone, really…because I can’t save anyone. I was reminded of that recently when a woman told me she couldn’t save her husband. I had said and lived the same feelings with my past: I couldn’t save my ex-husband. I was wracked with guilt for something I had no control over. All I could do was love, and for this project, that’s all I can do. Share from a place of love, from courage, from healing, and then my story and my journey will help whomever it’s supposed to help. Help, not save.
We put so much pressure on ourselves to be perfect, to be the best, to not make mistakes, especially if we are trying to help, and when we falter, we quit. I should just say that’s what I do, but I’ve seen it all over. We get scared, we mess up, we make a mistake, and so instead of pushing onward, we shut it down and walk away.
Maybe today you can start a new journey. Maybe you put a smile on your face for that which really DOES make you happy, and maybe today you give yourself a pat on the back for what you HAVE achieved, and maybe today you give yourself grace for when you were scared, and stand up and be brave, even in the small moments.
If we’re faking it, fine. But I believe it will soon be our new reality, our everyday selves, not some version of who we wish we were.
Are you with me?