Let’s Be Real

Willing To Be Seen.jpg

By Kate

I’ll be the first to admit that I love a good Instagram filter. Well, to be clear, I love a perfectly posed picture followed by a good filter. As long as I’m going to take the time to capture the scene and post it on social media, the sun might as well shine a little bit brighter and the cookies might as well be served on a pretty platter.

I laugh out loud at parody videos because I have totally been that girl. You know, the one leaning against (or perhaps standing on) a chair to snap a shot of my sweet potato fries. And then probably having to take the picture once more because the singular soggy fry in the front was messing up the whole scene.

While I hardly go to the same lengths to create an illusion of perfection in real life, I know I’m much more comfortable and apt to talk about the good things. Or, if not the good things, the surface level things. I’d prefer to keep the struggle to myself. Because the pieces of life where I struggle and feel less than seem depressing and confusing. And I don’t want to be those things. Not when I can be fun and confident.

So, I pack away the feelings of fear, and loneliness, and anxiety, saving them for the middle of night. But, here’s the problem, packing them away doesn’t make them actually go away. If anything, they come to surface stronger in each can’t sleep moment, circling around and around in my mind.

Come daylight is often when the clarity finally sets in. The clarity that I don’t have to do this life alone, that people who love me unconditionally will continue to love both ends of my emotional spectrum, and that it isn’t until I am willing to be seen, really seen, perceived flaws, imperfections, and all, that I can truly work through those seemingly never ending “what am I doing with my life” type questions.

Life is comprised of both the perfect, wouldn’t change a thing, and the imperfect, can’t make this shit up moments. It’s belly laughs, and ugly cries. It’s faith and it’s fear. And all of it, the perfect and imperfect, cries and laughs, and faith and fear, are better shared. Shared with parents, or a sister, or a spouse, or a best friend, or a therapist, or the lady ahead in the checkout line. Anyone to remind us that we’re not alone.

I’m quickly approaching 30. And, in more ways than one, I’m not where I thought I would be by this point in my life. I’m actually grateful I didn’t write one of those ‘open this in 10 years’ letters to myself before graduating high school because I can only imagine where that dreamy idealist thought I would be by now.

But on the flipside, I’ve done, seen, and experienced some amazing things that 19-year-old Kate didn’t even have on her radar. I’ve zig zagged my way along the journey (because, let’s be real, we all know it’s not straight uphill) and I’ve read, and I’ve talked, and I’ve listened, and I’ve learned.

Time and time again, I come back to this. The lines that I’ve underlined, highlighted, marked, and starred in Brené Brown’s, The Gifts of Imperfection. That is, “One of the greatest barriers to connection is the cultural importance we place on “going it alone.” Somehow we’ve come to equate success with not needing anyone. Many of us are willing to extend a helping hand, but we’re very reluctant to reach out for help when we need it ourselves. It’s as if we’ve divided the world into “those who offer help” and “those who need help.” The truth is that we are both.”

We’re not alone. We’re never alone. But in order to connect, we must first be willing to be seen.

{featured image via unsplash}

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