Something that seems so ingrained in southern culture is the art of facade casting. I’ve seen the women closest to me do it and my acquaintances do it all the time. You hear them conversing on the phone or a conversation over coffee “So how have you been” The friend asks. They reply “Oh we’ve been doing great! Just chuggin’ along. The kids are at such and such school and they play football for so and so.” All the while with this innocent little version of small talk they are casting a much larger facade, in a way they are painting a reality that simply is not true. While I totally believe there is a time and place to put yourself and your own needs aside, I will always err on the side of ‘Telling All’. Is it the popular thing to do? No. Will people think your whiny and have no filter at times? Yes. Will you have to paint a less than perfect picture of yourself? Absolutely. But here’s why I will always ‘Tell All’ and think it’s an important thing for others to at least try to do to some extent.
We connect to each other through stories. I have always loved stories and story telling and find that it’s one of the most incredible ways to connect with other humans. Story telling is a tool that we can use to foster deeper human relationships. Not fiction stories about how perfect you want other people to think your life is, but raw and honest stories that require vulnerability. I share my personal story because I love story telling and I have been so encouraged by the amount of people who have reached out to me and said “Hey! I struggle with that too!” I know some people have a hard time explaining their experiences through words but the beautiful thing about raw story telling is, it doesn’t have to be scripted or perfect. It is your story so it atomically holds value, even if the way you tell it sounds choppy or rough around the edges. I will always tell my story in hopes that someone somewhere out there feels understood. I struggle intensely with feeling misunderstood, alone and like no one really likes me. So when someone else is brave enough to share that they feel or have felt the same way, healing begins to happen. Their story serves a kick starter to my own healing journey and helps me to see I’m not as alone as I think I am. Sharing our stories has this effect. How beautiful is that?
I will ‘Tell All’ because I know I’m not perfect and telling all requires an amount humbling yourself and making yourself vulnerable on someone else’s behalf. I will tell all because I truly believe that “my story” does not belong to just me but ties into a much larger picture of God’s redeeming goodness. Seriously, If you knew me in my high school or college days you would really understand how true this is. But God aside, I think we all can agree that our stories are interconnected and we all belong to something much larger than ourselves, even just the collective consciousness. When we tell our real stories we take ourselves out of the center of the world and point to the much larger story at play.
I will tell my messy story to give others permission to share their own messy stories. Life is tragic, hard, beautiful and breathtaking all at the same time. But if I’m sharing my struggles with depression or the struggles I’ve had at work, I’m giving the reader permission to share their story without editing out the bad parts. Life is made up of the good, the bad and the ugly and we do no one any favors when we crop these parts out.
I will tell all because I accept the broken windows, the rattling door and the chipped off paint that covers the house that is my story and my life. I accept it for what it is and deem it beautiful despite the flaws. I don’t need to impress anyone by fixing superficial details of my story or by facade casting, I am only called to present my story and my version of the truth and trust that it will help someone else.
So friends, in order to be good friends to each other we must begin to create spaces where we can connect with each other in a deeper more meaningful way. PLEASE stop assuming that your friends are okay because ‘they looked okay on facebook’. We must not only create these spaces, but be willing to be vulnerable ourselves in these spaces. That means sharing our struggles and sharing our triumphs, that means sharing even when it makes you uncomfortable. And lastly, as we create space and we share, we must practice listening to each others stories without judgement, remembering always that we are much more similar than we think we are.
So let down the facade, unfriend me if you think I need to get a filter, and let’s start sharing the real version of ourselves. Because those parts of you are more beautiful than you think. And this is why I will always ‘Tell All’.