My Name is Gail, and I'm a Phony
Lately I have thought a lot about how phony I am.
How falsely I present myself.
Here are a few examples:
I wear make-up almost every time I go out.
I wear push-up bras.
I sometimes wear jewelry made of cubic zirconia and other non-precious, expensive-looking stones.
I exercise regularly in order to keep the flab at bay.
I suck in my gut when my clothes feel snug.
I paint my toenails and shave my legs more in the summer than I do in the winter.
When someone asks me how I'm doing, I usually say, "Fine. How are you?" even when I want to sit down and cry right then and there.
I rarely tell people how I really feel, especially if what I feel is anything other than "fine."
I say, "It's delicious" even if I'm not at all enthused about something I'm eating.
I used to wait until people looked away and then add tons of sugar to my coffee and tea.
If someone asks me how they look, I usually say, "Great" even if I don't like the outfit.
I buy things I don't want or need when friends are selling stuff.
I sometimes accept invitations to events and meals when I would rather stay at home.
When I hear good news, I don't always say, "Praise God" like I want to.
When I hear bad news, I don't always say, "I will pray for you" as I should.
I try to write clever and uplifting blogs all the time, even though sometimes I don't want to write anything at all or I want to be critical about something or somebody in my life.
I know that there are certain social norms and rules that must be followed in order to save face, be polite, and keep family and friendships intact. I can't spill my guts to everybody who asks how I'm doing. Nor can I go around hurting people's feelings under the guise of honesty or authenticity.
But sometimes, often really, I don't want to eat anymore of what is being served, I don't like that color of clothing or wallpaint, and I don't want to hold my tongue when the truth needs to be spoken. At other times, I want to tell a stranger how beautiful or handsome I think they are, compliment them on a fashion choice, or comment on how much I agreed with something they said to someone else, usually a conversation I eavesdropped on. Sometimes I want to hug a friend or acquaintance and say, "I love you," but I worry about what other people will think of my action and declaration. So I go the way of the phony: I hold my tongue and keep my hugs to myself.
Slowly and surely, I am learning to release myself from certain societal expectations.
I am learning to speak the truth in love when it would be easier to lie.
I am learnig to tell friends, even friends who don't believe in God or in the power of prayer, that I will pray for them.
I am learning to listen to others and then tell them that I disagree with them.
I am learning to gently but firmly challenge people when I think they are offbase with their assumptions.
I am learning how to listen to people who disagree with me and not defend myself or my position.
I am learning that it is okay to say "I love you" - because who doesn't want to be told that they are loved?
I am learning to embrace the freedom of not caring what others think of how I look.
I am learning to wear what I like even if it is last year's style (or the year before last).
Most of all, I am learning to live more comfortably not only with my authenticity,
but also with my phoniness. The Lord knows I'm not about to give up my mascara or my prayer life.