Let's just go ahead and get it out of the way. You are all saying..."long time, no blog"...yeah, yeah. I get it. Now get over it and read. ;)
The Great Pretender is a song I remember listening to when I was younger. I grew up listening to Oldies...every day...all day. Reason? My dad was a kick butt lead singer in a band called The Spontaines and sang with all kinds of cool "oldie" people, so we listened to Oldies. And I loved it. No complaining here. It was magical to drive around in our large...emerald green...white cracking leather seated.... Cordoba (yes you read that right).... where the horn had a short in it and would honk randomly while driving...all the while listening to great old songs from the 50's and 60's. I can honestly say that I still love that music...and shockingly still know most of the words.
So..back to The Great Pretender...that song is all about being sad and lost, but pretending that everything is ok. This is me. I've known it my whole life. I'm just now, at 32, willing to accept it and do something about it. I also know it about other people. If I'm pretending in certain situations, then I know others are too. Society forces us to. Human nature forces us to. Even the people we love the most force us to pretend some times. And in some situations, pretending is good! Lord knows if we all acted like we wanted to in every situation, or said what we really wanted to in every situation, none of us would have any friends! NONE. :) So, here are my thoughts on pretending and what I've learned over the past several months. As always, these are my thoughts. You don't have to agree with them or like them, but most of the responses I get are always things like ..."you read my mind"...."you said exactly what I've been thinking".....and those make me smile. I'm willing to deal with the small backlash I always get to speak my mind....I can live with that...or pretend to anyways. ;)
1.) Pretending is a part of life.
We are forced from a young age to pretend. "Use your imagination"...."pretend you are a princess"...."let's play pretend"! Some of you even had imaginary friends...I'm going to pretend like that 's normal...but I'm really not so sure. :) Some kids are forced to pretend just to survive daily life. They live a life no child should have to live and the only escape for them is possibly to pretend. Pretend they are living another life...pretend things that are happening to them really aren't. Others of us pretended at a young age simply because it was fun. I'm not sure at what age pretending goes from fun to frustrating, but it does at some point. At some point we are told that we have to stop pretending and start being honest. Honesty then becomes a huge issue and we are forced to just immediately stop playing pretend and live our lives not playing games any more. I wonder why the transition is hard for all of us? ;)
2.) People pretend to like us and we pretend to like other people.
Were you ever forced as a child to play with someone? To invite someone to a party? To pretend to like a family member? (ha!) The answer should be a resounding YES. I do the same thing as a mother to Noah. "Noah...go play with him!" "Noah...BE NICE!" I get that look from him like "For heaven's sake mom, I DON'T WANT TO!!!" and yet I still push him to pretend. It's my way of thinking I am making Noah a better person by loving everyone, but let's just be honest...I am forcing him to make choices and act a certain way for me and not for himself. (Note to readers: I am not in any way saying it is ok for my child to be mean to another child...but I shouldn't force him to be best friends with someone he doesn't like...get it?)
It's a hard pill to swallow thinking that people pretend to like us. I feel like, for the most part, that people are generally nice to me. If I had to make a list right now of people who just didn't like me at all, I don't know that I could come up with anyone. Ok...maybe 2? I don't know. The reality is...there are probably multiple people I could put on that list if people stopped pretending. We've all experienced the horrible feeling of thinking someone is your friend and then finding out how they really feel...right? That's a part of life. It hurts, it sucks...but it's reality. Sometimes we just don't click with people. We force friendships, force relationships, and know in our hearts that we just really don't like that person and they really don't like us...but we continue to play the game every time we see them. It's the right way to handle the situation. I don't feel there is ever any reason to just be mean to someone, but it's still all a game. A big game of pretend.
3.) We pretend like everything is always OK.
I AM THE MASTER OF THIS. DO NOT DARE TRY TO TAKE AWAY MY TITLE. I WILL WIN EVERY DAY...EVERY TIME.
Someone I love dearly told me last week that one of the things she admires most about me is that no matter what I am going through (hell at the moment, by the way) that I come to work every day with a smile on my face and a cheerful attitude and no one would ever know I am hurting. I was thankful she admires that in me...but then I thought...doesn't that make me a BIG FAT LIAR???? The more I thought about it, the more I don't think that is the case. We can't drag our baggage into work. I have a job to do...kids to love...and things to teach. In essence, I am "on stage" every day at my job. I can't crawl into my cubicle, lay my head on my desk, or go into the bathroom stall and let it all out. I have to pretend I am ok so that my kids can get through their day with happiness and joy...my main goal as a teacher. We learn to pretend to adapt to our situations. We pretend so we don't lose our jobs. We pretend so we don't lose friends. No one wants Debby Downer as a friend, right? You know that person...you avoid them at the grocery store because the second you ask.."How Are You?"...you regret it ....big time. By the time they finish their woeful story, your ice cream has melted in your buggy and you hate your own life too. How did that happen? ;) But we don't want that person to be honest...we literally want that "I'm good" answer even if they aren't good. Why is that? I think it's because sometimes hearing what people are going through is just plain uncomfortable for us. What can we do to help? Say "I'll pray for you" and then we don't. Say "let me know if you need anything" and then cross your fingers that they don't call and actually need something. Yep...I think if we were honest, that's exactly what most of us do.
4.) My Point
Lord, I ramble. My point is....don't be a pretender all the time. Find those people you can be 100% honest with. Pretend when you have to...to keep your job...to keep out of the looney bin (although time away would be nice..ha!)...you know those important times. :) I've done a lot of pretending in my life and it's coming back to bite me in the you know where. I'm ok with it now..it's a part of life...a part of my life and a part of my "growing up" you could say. Everything that happnes in our lives is a part of our story. I wouldn't change a thing about my life. Why would I want to? It's brought me here. It's helped me help others. It's forced me to be a better person...a better me.
Final Thought: I'm done pretending. So I'll totally understand if you avoid me like the plague at the grocery store. ;)