There’s a popular hashtag people like to use called #LiveAuthentic. The idea of it is beautiful. The execution, however, is often inauthentic. People stamp it to images of themselves doing crazy things, to slices of life that are fleeting, to moments that are as rare as they are brief. Live authentic, they say as they hope people don’t see right through them to the central fact that their lives are not all happiness and excitement.
I think if we all used #LiveAuthentic properly, we’d be stunned at how regular and perhaps challenging each others’ lives are. #LiveAuthentic for me today would be a raggedy Star Wars shirt, glasses that don’t fit my face, mussy hair, and a whole lot of overwhelming history.
A year ago this month, I went through what I can only call hell. Having a day off of work and the inability to do more than lie on the ground and moan (I’m only being partly melodramatic here), I thought about it. A lot. And it scared me the same way the sight of my own blood scares me — it terrifies me to see old wounds, to suspect that they might reopen and I’ll be left to stitch them up alone again. Funny thing, being human. We’re never left completely alone (I have enough faith in the Atonement to believe that), but in times of desperation, we feel as though we are, and I think that’s the worst part of it. That chasmic distance we create in our pain.
Truth is, #LiveAuthentic occasionally means #LiveWeak for me. I’m not always optimistic, and I’m not always eloquent. Sometimes I’m awkward and scared. Sometimes I’m sick as a dog watching Spongebob episodes and trying not to laugh, because A) my stomach hurts and B) Spongebob is ridiculous. Sometimes I worry that I’m disappointing or inadequate. Sometimes the future worries me.
But tomorrow comes, as it does, and with it, new nows, new opportunities, and new reassurances that we’re doing okay, even if we feel like we fail.
I’m not sure why I’m writing this. Maybe I just want you to know that I’m human. That I have weaknesses. That I have fears. We all do. And it’s okay to be real and authentic about it.