The truth is we all have “issues” and to deny this is to deny being human
I am not happy with my body. I am not satisfied with the money I make writing. I am not happy with the nasty smoking habit that I have had for far too long. I am not happy with the fact that I need two beers to calm my nerves when I get home after a stressful day at work. I am not happy that I have to take medication for anxiety and depression to function more happily in this world.
And saying these things aloud is a breath of fresh air. Because it’s the truth.
And at times, I think we need to say these ugly truths aloud, instead of hiding under society’s guise of “I’m good with my life.”
Somehow to admit our insecurities in this society is a badge of shame, and so we say things like:
- “I’m fat, and I’m okay with it.”
- “It doesn’t bother me when people make comments on my race. Or my sexuality. ”
- “Their criticism doesn’t affect me in the least.”
And I’m calling your bluff a bit here. (Though I am not so self-righteous as to say that some of you may actually be telling the truth).
My Ugly Truths
I smoke. And I wish I didn’t. I think about cancer. I think about all the risks associated with my bad habit.
I am a smoker with no real intention of quitting. It’s an addiction, and I am totally aware that I am undeniably a cigarette junkie. And I hate the stares I get when I leave a work gathering and huddle under a canopy to smoke when it's spitting rain or it is freezing cold.
And that’s the truth. And I realize that many of you will say, “Just quit. You’re killing yourself.”
And what you say is the truth too.
But at least I’m authentic enough to admit the fact that I am a prisoner at the moment to this addiction.
And maybe, just maybe, one day in the future this admission of my own failings will allow me to change for the better.
And I so admire others like myself who are willing to admit the truth.
Why I Admire Others Who Tell Their Ugly Truths
For example, I noticed a particular writer herself Your Fat Friend. And I deeply respect her writings.
Her articles are refreshingly honest in comparison to the truckload of “body positive” articles I see splashed all over the magazines and newspapers.
She’s honest. Being “fat” sucks.
For example in her article “Who Would I be If I Weren’t Fat?” she discusses the myriad struggles of living the life of someone who is overweight and living under “anti-fat sentiment.” She admits to things like only shopping late at night or having her food delivered so that she is only “subjected to the judgment of the cashier of the delivery person.”
She goes on to discuss how each get-together with friends is a “research project” where she notes the booth size to determine if she will be able to fit or scans the chairs to evaluate if they are strong enough to hold her large frame.
And who could be totally happy with this type of lifestyle?
I’m not sure that anyone could.
And I myself have a similar preoccupation with thinness (even though most would consider me thin)and tragically, the same “research project” ensues.
When someone asks me to go out for dinner, I ask where. Why? So I can determine if I am able to overcome my temptation to eat the food offered there.
Pizza places? No, no, I must have the pizza. So this option is a no-go.
Subway? Okay, I can do that.
And if I do overindulge? I berate myself so much I actually begin to feel physically sick.
I am preoccupied with my appearance and the desire to be thin is one of the manifestations of this preoccupation.
I am vain, and I am insecure, and no doubt, these are perhaps the underlying reasons for this obsession (and if I am even more honest, part of the reason I smoke).
These are my ugly truths. Said loudly (but not proudly).
And the most important truth?
We’re all human, and we all have things in our life that we wish were different: our appearance, our weight, our paycheck, our job.
The Real Truth
It is my belief that if you say that you’re completely satisfied with your life, you’re a liar.
There, I said it.
And I know I will get backlash. And that’s okay. Because it’s truly how I feel. And stating the truth frees us. To admit our insecurities and weaknesses, addictions and failures breed human compassion. And understanding.
I will never laugh or mock an overweight person. I will never demean a person who struggles with substance abuse. And I will never be cruel enough to state an ugly truth about another to him or her in some self-righteous way. Because guess what, deep down, he or she already knows the truth. So to bring it up only adds to his or her suffering.
And to laugh at or mock others for their own weaknesses and truths is to be a hypocrite. It is to deny the fact that I have my own equally weighty number of failings. For example, a person’s inability to control their desire for food is no worse than my inability to resist a cigarette.
The Bottom Line:
The first step to a happier life is being truthful with ourselves. The lies we tell ourselves — we know the truth. The lies we tell others — well, they know the truth too. And facing or stating this truth about ourselves does not make us weak.
It makes us strong. It makes us authentic. It draws others to us because we all want to be with someone who reminds us we are not alone in our failings and troubles. It gives us empathy for those struggling with problems that may be foreign to us. Because even if the struggle is one we don’t endure, that fact that we struggle as well helps us sympathize and connect.
So, I’ve told you my truths. And please, feel free to tell me yours. Maybe, after all, by sharing our truths we can help each other through this crazy thing called life.