Guess What? I’m Still Faking It – Waiting to Make It.
Her inspiring story, confidence, and surety. She’s financially secure, emotionally stable, and seemingly ready for anything. She is well read and well rounded, non-judgemental, and spilling over with wisdom. Always ready with a kind word, or funny anecdote. Always put together, she’s in a healthy relationship — she doesn’t take any shit. She’s got a job she’s happy with, a safe place to live, and friends.
This woman has purpose. She is someone I want to be friends with, in hopes I might absorb some of her awesomeness by osmosis.
The problem is — I am this woman; except I’m not.
I’m a faker — exposed. A phony. A fraud. I am all things and also none of them. The fear that you will find me out keeps me from being me. It also allows me to be whatever – whoever – you need. The ability to exude confidence, availability, kindness, and love just helps masks the fact that I have no fucking idea what I’m doing.
I can be all the good things — as needed, but I don’t feel them in my heart; not all the time. The effects of trauma – Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) – low self esteem – self-image and abandonment issues – financial insecurity – they all sit on a hair trigger, waiting for just a twitch before unloading a full-blown assault of self hatred. My own mind attacks me, daily.
I am fortunate to have many tools to combat this, but my mind often overrides sensibilities. Some days I can’t leave the house. I can’t pick up the phone. I’m choosing abstinence based recovery, so picking up any substances to change how I feel at any given time is not an option for me.
“Fake it ’til you make it.”
I can’t let you in and I can’t let me out. I have several close friends who know the real me, but still I feel like a fraud. Women talk to me, look up to me, ask for suggestions, and tell me I’ve helped them. I love being available to other women in recovery. I love spreading hope. I just don’t love feeling like I’m just pretending.
I will probably never be 100% satisfied with my outside appearance, but I usually seem that I am. Faker alert. All that junk running around my insides prevents me from thinking I’m worthy enough to invest the time and energy into the physical appearance I desire.
The inside stuff is much harder. Therapy, 12 step recovery, non 12 step recovery, family life, being a stay at home mom, going back to work, exercise (or lack of exercise) — the list goes on. Some days I wonder if I’ll ever be fully satisfied with my station in life. Other days, I wonder how my life could get any better. Most of this directly correlates to how well I’m taking care of myself. Making my therapy appts – taking time for me – doing all the stuff I often suggest others do.
It’s so hard to put all this good for me stuff into action, but I can’t tell anyone that because they’ll know I’m not perfect; that I have only 24 hours in a day.
I totally embrace who I am. That has been an amazing experience for me. I’m still chubby and occasionally bite my nails. I abhor the hair dresser. I live in patchwork skirts and band t-shirts. I’m a work in progress, but not changing what I love about me is freeing.
Being a mom sucks sometimes. I love my kids more than life, but some days I just want to quit momming. Raising humans is hard! Being a SAHM was the hardest four years of my life! It’s not always a fucking Pinterest party or a trip to the zoo. It’s potty training picky eaters. It’s preemies and doctors visits, and – and – and. Sometimes I feel like I’m not built for all that stuff. I know I’m built for loving them the best.
I’m grateful for my amazing fiancé, who is a far calmer parent than I. But I feel like I have to foster a perfect relationship where we never fight and agree on everything and sex happens regularly (whatever the fuck that means).
We often disagree. Sex happens if we’re not too tired; occasionally. I work graveyard and he’s on days, so that adds an interesting dilemma.
I often wonder how I got from where I was to where I am and why I deserve this life. Maybe it’s all in my head. If I am a phony, than I am a pretty lucky one. I built this glorious life, after all. I don’t know if I’ll ever feel exactly how I want to feel, but I keep thinking if I continue all this inside work, I’ll get there.
Nicole is an East Coast mama in long-term recovery. A survivor of all the things, she is a fierce advocate for women, loves the “f-word,” practices kindness, and loves patchwork. Nicole lives north of Boston with her fiancé and their two sons.