On Keeping It Real

What do you call yourself,” I asked my husband in the car as we drove our daily commute into the city from the suburbs. “You know, when you don’t want to sound like a . . .”

“. . . greasy car salesman?” he responded.


“A Product Consultant.” He smiled. “I don’t sell people cars, I just tell them what the cars could offer them if they were to buy one.”

I laughed. A product consultant sounded so different from the reality: he is a car salesman. There’s nothing wrong with that — with either of those titles — but the illusion they give people is different. So why even bother?

I’ve been spending a lot of time lately thinking about this. How does one become more authentic in the kind of world we’re living in? One so filtered it is starting to distort reality? It’s a scary thing to even consider, recognizing that plenty of the time I don’t like my own authenticity, even when it’s in private. It can be ugly: the body shaming, the comparison, the fight, the fifth slice of pizza, the speeding ticket, the ignore button on the cell phone, the mandatory nose picking when that one booger is just seriously so sharp what even the fuck is that up there?

All one has to do is follow Lena Dunham on Twitter to know that sometimes shit can get too real.

But, then again, isn’t that still an improvement to the alternative?

The face we present to the world — even if it is ‘true,’ will always be incomplete. There is always more (more to know, more to see, more to the story, more to our emotions, more to discover, more to share), but we could do a better job of at least trying to regularly make that more less.

It’s time we practice more radical honesty + compassion with each other in the hopes that one day soon we won’t be able to help falling in love with the humanity around us. Perfect is far from the person I want to be, and it’s even farther from what I want in those who I spend my time with. Just: Who are you? Where are you hurting? Can I be with you while you deal with that?

It’s funny the different filters we put on the things in our lives. Inkwell for those moments in time we wish we could freeze but know within ourselves are already gone. Lo-Fi for when we’re trying to look on the bright side. Hudson for when the conversation needs to be spoken gently, considered deeply, and thoughtfully executed.

But every now and then we come across a moment so uniquely and imperfectly perfect we have no choice but to share it as is. Hashtag no filter, if you will.

The wedding. The expecting. The birth. The success. The pride. The glory. The fullness. And, even still: The divorce. The miscarriage. The passing. The rock bottom. The regret. The shame. The emptying.

These moments — the ones we can’t even be bothered to doctor because they just don’t need it— are where life happens.

So how do we “be real” in a world filtering itself into a false reality?

We talk about it — all of it — without fear of judgment or ridicule, loss or embarrassment. Perhaps, even, without permission.

And someday soon, in a perfectly imperfect world, we will all remember how much more beautiful the mess is than the madness we create in striving to appear magnificent.

XO, A.

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