I DON’T know what’s happened to me over the past few months.
But I do know this. No longer can I stand fakery.
No longer can I stand the not so sweet smell of bulls**t that seems to linger pretty much everywhere these days.
Do you know what I mean?!
I’ve talked about it a few times on my blog previously. About the importance of being honest and authentic. And yet even I found myself edging over to the dark side this year, continuing friendships with people whom I should have walked away from or pretending everything was tickety boo when things were anything but.
And I tell you this. Fakery is everywhere.
Look around you. Have a think. And you’ll find…
It’s all over the internet. In your Facebook feed, across loads of blogs and anywhere you dare to visit. The media is naturally full of it (literally) with nondescript celeb stories and thousands of photoshopped-to-death images of people – mostly women of course – all of which we’re bombarded with every day.
There’s just too much spin. And too much gloss.
Too many people pretending to be something they are not, hiding their true selves from the world, creating their own cover story. Too many of us concentrating on building a pretty picture, instead of concentrating on building a better world.
And don’t get me wrong. I love a pretty picture! I love hearing good news stories! I love celebrating when people do well and succeed!
But when does it cross the line? When does painting everything in a positive light become anything but light? When does it become a bit darker?
Because today, honestly? I’m struggling to figure out what is real and what is not. I struggle to make out the genuine, authentic people from those who are not. I struggle to make out the truth.
It’s all just so confusing. There’s just too much bulls**t.
(Or at least, so it seems to me.)
In fairness, perhaps there’s a thing as being too honest too?
I know, I’ve been far too open myself sometimes and have lost count of the amount of times I’ve opened my mouth when really – with the joy of hindsight – I should have kept it shut. Lost count of the times when I’ve shared my story, only to have chapters of it thrown back in my face.
The balance between authenticity and fantasy is so blurred sometimes, that it’s hard to know where to draw the line in the sand.
People love honesty. They respond to honesty. Yet, they also fear it. And they also try to stifle it.
We want it but we don’t want it. We need it but we don’t always want to hear it. We crave it from others but at the same time, we struggle to reveal ourselves.
It’s such a tricky thing.
But I want more of it. I need more of it. And I don’t think I’m alone.
I want to connect with people. And I can’t do this when they’re hiding who they are.
I want to know where I stand with people. Even if they hate my guts.
I want to know that I’m not alone. So I need more people to open their mouths and share a bit of their souls.
As a journalist, it’s your job to seek out the truth. To discover fresh stories. To get people to talk. And it always felt natural to me to do this.
Years ago, in an interview for a trainee journalist position, I was asked why I wanted the role and part of the answer I gave was that I am nosey. Or to put it more politely, inquisitive.
And it’s true. I am.
I’m fascinated by people and their lives. I love chatting to strangers and hearing their tales. I adore sitting in a coffee shop or park and watching people go by. Wondering who they are. What kind of day they are having or what they have experienced.
The answer I gave did thankfully land me the job. And I tell you, being a journalist taught me so much about people. And about communication.
About asking the right questions, encouraging people to speak and getting the most from them, with the little time I had.
Now, years on, it’s a bit of a standing joke with family, that wherever I go, strangers talk to me and share their stories. And oh, how I love it!
But it also tells me this.
It tells me that people are desperate to share their lives and feelings with others. Whether they are conscious of it or not.
Because everyone wants to be heard. From my three year old daughter to the little old lady sitting quietly behind you on the bus.
Which is why all the fakery, all the nonsense, all the glitz and all the spin, makes me sad. And frustrated.
Because it’s hard to reveal yourself when you’re covered in too many layers. It’s hard to be true to yourself, when others are not true with you.
On this blog, I pride myself on being honest. So, the irony isn’t lost on me, that today as I write about fakery, I am sat here wearing eyelash extensions (which are incredible btw!) fake tan and my hair wavy when it is naturally straight!
Does this make me a fake person?!
Well, that’s down to you to decide. But I bloomin’ hope not.
Because you see, in my humble opinion, the thing with fakery, is that it’s ok for things not to be ‘real’ as long as they’re not presented as the truth.
So fantasy? Sure bring it on. Being the best version of ourselves? Brilliant, let’s have more of it. Spin? As long as the balance is right, why not?
But when things are hidden. When we are lied to. When something is presented as real when it’s far from it, well this is all the kind of stuff I really don’t like.
This weekend, after celebrating my birthday, I decided to make a little list of all the ‘fake’ things I was going to stop doing at the age of 36 and top of the list was this one…I’m going to stop spending time with fake people.
Its a good place to start, for all of us I reckon, when we struggle with all the bulls**t.
And surely, can only go some way to making our world smell (and seem) a whole lot sweeter.