During the course of working to sell our home (which is still in process) the weird idiosyncrasies of human nature continue to show through. We still live here—it’s my husband, myself, and our 3 year old plus our cats and dogs. We had to remove nearly everything from our home. It’s a shell of what it was. And I mean, I get it to a degree. You’re not showing people how you live, you’re showing how they could fit themselves in the space. But I can’t help but feel like it’s so unrealistic. It’s a show. There are 3 people and assorted animals living in this house and we are expected to erase ourselves from the space.
So I started thinking bigger picture and realized that we have a tendency to train each other to erase ourselves to make other people happy. We’ve made it so that disagreeing is disagreeable and argumentative. We’ve made the “right” thing to be quiet, to go along, and to agree. And we’ve lost ourselves along the way.
I started thinking about families and how we all break down to some level of dysfunction eventually. Competition breaks out with those you are supposed to be safest with and with those you are supposed to trust. Where we are meant to find peace and safety we find a messed up blend of love and hostility. It’s messed up because we start in this world by learning we can’t trust who we are supposed to innately trust. Those meant to protect us. I know this isn’t the case for all but it is more common than not. And we are trained to compete because that is how we feel we have to survive.
If we stopped long enough to question this madness, we’d realize that we have far more in common with everyone than not. We are all just trying to survive in a broken system. We learn to fight each other and compete with each other rather than realizing the game is rigged. So the game starts with mistrust of those around us, and very quickly we learn to mistrust ourselves as well. We are trained to project an image to make people see us a certain way. This current generation especially is growing up in the fake it til you make it/perception is reality culture of life in 140 characters or less and the perfect photoshopped image.
I question what would happen if we all said fuck it and retrained ourselves to have real conversations, not manipulative attempts to be perceived a certain way. Because the reality is Toto can pull the curtain back at any time and there you are, exposed with your hands on the lever. And then you lose our credibility and all trust because we’re so shocked that you lied. We learned early on that “control” got us what we wanted; show just enough to get your hook in and never show them the rest. We believe the point is to get likes, get clicks, get sales, get things, get rich. So show them the persona.
I feel like it would be so much easier to be real. Not in the sense that vulnerability is easy but in the sense that the weight is lifted. Imagine the weight you would lose revealing the real you. It’s like losing a whole person. Because it really is losing a person: the person you created for other people to see.
Let’s teach growth, honesty, and authenticity over greed, manipulation, and control. We’re so hungry for power and attention and energy but we never execute the immense power we have over ourselves. Because we are taught to give our power away—play nice, be quiet, let others solve our conflicts, avoid conflict at all cost while expecting others to give us their power. We need to learn to get comfortable with the uncomfortable reality over the image that doesn’t exist.
We can learn to reclaim it all. Teach each other to communicate rather than stifle. Learn to get comfortable with humanity in all its messiness. Accept over and over again what is. Normalize it and embrace it. Stop teaching each other that having opinions is offensive and educate people that treating others like garbage is offensive so we can work together. And I refuse to continue the ludicrous notion that my existence is offensive. Nor is anyone else’s. We need to restore our humanity. My own little revolution: the toothpaste stays in the bathroom.