The (deeper than you imagined) Implications of Being Fake
I used to be fake. Not in the layered cosmetics, profess to be something I’m not, “on Wednesdays we wear pink” kind of fake. I was that stealthy kind of fake; stealthy enough to slip under the radar and obscure the dramatic implications. The blank stares, eye rolling and general sideways squints from the general population made it easy to hide the parts of myself that catalyzed the aforementioned actions. If you’re inclined to provide a pass for this deceptively benign fakery, allow me to streamline: I was hiding who I was. The motivation wasn’t maleficent. The action was relatable and potentially, just … human. I wish that voided the fake, but it doesn’t. So, what does it mean to be fake or inauthentic? Why do we do it? What are the bi-products? And my favorite, what can happen when we fight the fake?
Let’s standardize. I’ll call being fake anything you knowingly do that is in discordance with who know you are. Also, let’s hold ourselves accountable. If we have an inkling, a pit in our stomach, a tickle at the corner of our consciousness, we know. Ignoring signs is willful denial. #SorryNotSorry Fake itself has countless concentrations; pretending to love Sushi when In-n-Out is one of your food groups, choosing relationships that invalidate you but look great behind a light ring, denying yourself intellectual stimulation to make others feel smart or pretending to enjoy group settings when you could comfortably spend 27383576238467 days in a place where other humans’ only role is grounding you in physical reality. There is, of course, another variety of fake whereby we ignorantly act and are in discordance with who we are for the very real reason that we are direct biproducts of societal structures that reinforce, and theoretically incite, fakeness.
Which addresses much of why we’re fake to begin with. We do it because we’re forced to. From early in our development, canned versions of our Self are consistently and almost inescapably enforced by way of media, organizations, standardized education and basically all civilized human models. Who we should want to be, what we should aspire to do, why we should aspire to do it and how we’re supposed to feel about it all is conveniently outlined. For myself, I was fake for the artless reason of making other people happy. I’d mostly known who I was at any given age and been averse to societal structures since age four when I was precluded from using the specialized shoe tying method I’d developed. I had tired though, of being labeled as weird, feeling unliked and unrelatable and that no one understood what, and especially why, I was me. I had learned to keep my Self to myself, convinced that it wasn’t self-loathing but a pragmatic sacrifice for the greater good. Less existentially, being fake is easy. It numbs us. It creates an illusion of separation from the discomfort of longing to be ourselves in our covertly curated, homogenous surroundings. It is, however, only an illusion.
When we fall prey to the illusion of contentedness and concede to being fake, we actively imprison our spirit. Our spirit is the essence of who we are; we cannot contain one without the other. But wait, there’s more. When we hide ourselves, we limit folks exposure to “the other”, all things beyond their present purview, interaction with which is the holy grail of growth. We rob them of the adventure of self-discovery, of observing their response to something new and deciphering how they feel about it. We give them permission to dip into their bucket of appropriate responses in reaction to our own bucket of appropriateness, and then we both get sushi. Driving this train clean off of the tracks, when we stay the process of self-discovery, we amputate our collective ability to see the sum whole of humanity. Pause. When we’re fake, we distort and obscure our view of humanity. Imagine humanity a puzzle and each of us a piece. How can the puzzle come together when we can’t see the pieces?
What if we decide to fuck the fake and get real? If we refuse to change ourselves to please others and operate in accordance with our truth? We become free. Mic drop. Consciously, we’d inspire others to be free through something psychology calls modeling. They’d see how it’s done and understand that it can be done. Subconsciously, it’s a secret signal that we’re in this humanity thing will all four limbs and ready to start the work of being better – together. The best part of fucking the fake is that even when others don’t consciously comprehend or buy in, we passively plant seeds of change. Yes they take time, but less time than growing something from nothing at all. Also, just as inauthenticity robs people of opportunities, being real gifts opportunities. It allows folks to get a glimpse of who they really are and how they operate. With an empathetic hand, we hold up a mirror. While it’s not our responsibility to make others open or even acknowledge the gift, let’s give it anyway. People love presents.
As for my minuscule fragment of the whole, I want to be free. I want my spirit to ramble and my Self to spill out. I want to openly wish the best for humanity, for each of us to live up to our supernatural potential, to love ourselves and adventure and be loved. I want to give gifts that last; the kind that get used and reflected upon years later with new insight and application. The kinds that spur laughter and fuel power and drip with love and liberation. The kind that are real.