Presently: Real

“From here on out, I am only interested in what is real. Real people, real feelings. That’s it. That’s all I’m interested in.”

My roommate is going to yell at me when she reads this because she knows I just quoted a movie I’ve never seen.

The first time I read that quote was on a dorm-mate’s AIM away message at UMASS, Amherst in 2006. I had no idea where the quote came from and I didn’t really care. I just sort of absorbed it and it’s been looping in my brain ever since… that loop has gotten louder recently.

Real people. Real feelings. That’s all I’m interested in. Yeah…

While deep-diving into some self-help/self-love/self-stuff this year, I’ve had to come to terms with the fact that I haven’t been very “real” lately, or at all. I’ve lived a pretty big chunk of my life dishonestly.

A momma-friend of mine told me the other day that according to some recent studies, most children learn to lie around the age of five. I definitely picked up that habit early on and ran with it. Of course, I’m talking about those little white lies to get out of trouble, and the bigger ones to garner some kind of attention, but what I’ve discovered to be the most damning lies I ever told, are the ones I told myself.

Something really interesting happens when you stop lying to yourself. When you dig around and get brutally honest… You kinda start to blow up your life a little, or at least, that’s what I’ve done.

I found that the more honest I got, the more I realized I had been doing things that weren’t very “me” and were actually bold-faced lies.

For example, earlier this year, I got a side job writing for a click-bait-y website. I used a pen name because I was so embarrassed to have my real name published under articles like “Which Frozen Character Are You Based On Your Zodiac Sign?”. Seems harmless enough, right? Wrong. I was lying. I was lying about who wrote these articles for the sake of a paycheck, and for a girl who clearly needs an audience and loves taking credit for her work, this lie was a big one. So, I quit. Sure, I miss the additional income, but I definitely don’t miss the feeling of settling for work I’m not proud of and hiding in plain sight with a stupid pen name.

Once I blew up my financial stability, I moved on to my love life. Normally, in relationships, I like to play it cool, or at least, that’s the lie I’ve been telling myself and the people I’m with. “I don’t need a label”, “I can have casual sex”, “I’m not sure what I want”. All lies I’ve been perpetuating for most of my adult life. Turns out, I like labels and I want an all-in relationship and when I sleep with someone, I usually get pretty attached (as do most women because when we have sex, our brains release Oxytocin the “love chemical” no matter what, while in men’s brains, that chemical is only released when the dude is in love).

Last month, I found myself six months into a relationship with someone who didn’t want the same things I wanted, and instead of being mad about it or convincing myself to hold on long enough until he did want those things… we broke up. It was actually one of the healthiest break-ups I’ve ever had because we were totally honest with one another and I walked away feeling like he and I could be friends in the future. No hard feelings. I’ve never been able to say that about an ex before.

Shortly after that break-up, I uncovered even more heart-stuff I had been lying about and finally told one of my guy friends that I’ve been harboring feelings for him, off and on, for the better part of a decade. Did that kind of honesty make me want to barf? Yup. Especially when he didn’t reciprocate those feelings (which I kinda always knew he didn’t). But, I’m so glad I told him because I can move on knowing I was honest. I’ve lied so much in the past because it seemed like the safer bet. It’s safer to pretend to feel nothing than to be vulnerable and feel everything. That’s not true. I found out vulnerability actually feels really good in most situations, especially in matters of the heart, because it’s honest.

There’s one more relationship I got honest with this month, and that’s my relationship with alcohol. For anyone who has read this blog over the years, there’s been a lot of ups and downs and back and forth with the drinking “thing”. One month I was sober, the next I was declaring I’d found a healthy way to drink, and then a few months later I was sober again. What I’ve realized recently is that… I am not someone who has ever had healthy drinking habits and a lot of my old posts on here were real-time struggles with alcoholism. I lied to you guys and I lied to myself. I have a genetic predisposition to alcoholism. I am 50% more likely than the average human to develop an addiction, and I did. That’s not to say I haven’t had what society considers to be a “normal” night out drinking with friends, of course I have, but those nights never came naturally to me. The overwhelming urge to binge drink has been something I’ve always struggled with and I think I’ve finally reached the point where I’m done struggling. That’s the funny thing I’m learning about all these lies… it’s a struggle to keep up with them. Telling the truth is just so much easier. Scarier? Sure, sometimes. But it’s always easier.

From here on out, I’m only interested in what’s real, and what’s easy, and what’s honest. That’s it. That’s all I’m interested in.

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