I grew up hearing Fake It Til You Make It! *insert exaggerated arm swing gesture here*. I bet you probably did too. This is a story about how I QUIT doing this, and finally learned who the hell I was under all the Faking It and then for once, I Made It. This is great advice for the small stuff, but here's what you DON'T do: don't fake your entire personality with the hopes that someday you'll just "make it". Spoiler alert: it doesn't work.
For so long I tried hard to Be an Adult. I was 22. I was living by myself in an apartment. I was either working full time or I was in school full time. I had to buy groceries, gas, pay insurance and clean. I tried to wear nice clothes, I kept my hair normal colors. I refrained from getting any 'visible' tattoos. Throughout my whole life I was told to fake it until I make it, and I sure as hell was faking it, because I felt like shit about the whole thing. I felt like the exact same 16 year old kid I've always been, struggling along, trying to figure out the rules. Every time something #adulting would come up, I'd have a complete melt down. Bills due? Meltdown. Fridge broke? Melt down. Car tire popped? Melt down. I remember looking around at my peers and just thinking, how the hell do you just know how to handle this?! Most nights I would just #meltdown.
Before I got therapy - and likely the actual event that pushed me to get therapy - I decided to just stop faking it.
I decided to just see what could happen. I gave into my 16 year old inner self, and did what she wanted to do.*
*I can't get this warning in soon enough - I hurt a lot of people during this time. I will always have to live with that guilt. And although it sounds like it was a conscious decision, it wasn't until I went back and reflected that I understood what I was doing at the time.
I was impulsive. I made bad choices. I was reckless. I lost my partner. I lost my best friend. But it wasn't all bad. I dyed my hair purple. I got a few new tattoos. I embraced it. But I was angry. I was lonely. I was finally feeling all of the feelings I kept just at arms reach. I filled myself with them. I was hungry for the feelings I've starved myself of for so long. I had never in my life felt more like myself. And I finally hit rock bottom. I finally realized that faking it was equivalent to living a hollow life, and the track I was on was impossible to maintain without continuing to hurt people I loved.
I was ready to be helped. I found a therapy program that suited me. I met amazing people. I built myself back up. I didn't have to fake it anymore, I was learning how to make it. Embracing who I was really helped me find happiness. My career and my marriage make up nearly 100% of my life and if I couldn't be entirely myself in both of them I would be missing out on a lot of amazing, heartwarming experiences.