So not too long ago, Jimmy Dean Freeman asked me to join him on another synchronized blogging topic: Freedom to Confront Your Past.
After I got his message, I sat there for a minute and processed it… freedom to confront your past…freedom to confront your past.. huh. Nothing extremely inspirational made its way into my brain. Likely because I’ve talked about my own story so much, it’s even old news to me! You can read that here. Well, actually, nothing inspirational hit my brain, but there was this random piece of seemingly unrelated material:
I thought back to my days growing up in the glorious white trash town of Winder, in which I recollected a vivid memory. I suddenly remembered standing in the 6th grade hallway watching as two skanky teen girls started fist fighting and screaming, “YOU A LIE!! YOU A LIE!! WHY YOU FRONT’N?!!” For those of you who don’t speak fluent white trash, the term “You a lie!” and “Why you front’n” are slang for “Why are you pretending to be someone you are not?”…
I suppose somewhere in that strange thought train, my mind had translated Jimmy’s topic suggestion of “freedom to confront your past” as more of a “why hide from who you really are”. And at that, the thoughts began to pour…
Confronting your past can suck. Especially if your past sucks.
Take me for instance….my past kinda sucks.. a lot. As you’ve likely read on my blog, I was a kid with very low self esteem, who ended up taking a lot of verbal abuse and harassment and found myself hooked on drugs, alcohol, and other dangerous “pastimes” by 15. I dropped out of high school, straightened myself up for a bit, went back, determined to finish it all out….and then got pregnant months before graduation. I ditched college in favor of a full time job so I could support my baby. Somehow along the way, only God knows, I ended up getting this:
But despite having THAT goodness up there… things are not perfect at all. But I’m completely cool with that, and have no problem admitting that to anyone. We deal with tons of crap, life drama, financial garbage, family problems, and all the other good stuff that most of you know and understand all too well.
But hey, that’s life. I’m not gonna act like this crap is a cake walk! I own up to it.
I rarely intentionally throw myself into uncomfortable social situations, but I always end up in them some how. Any time I meet new people it’s the same old, same old: Filler Questions. Where do my kids go to school…What part of town do I live in [raised eyebrows at "Winder"], what does my husband do, what do I do…yadda yadda yadda… and YEAH.. this conversation blows. Let’s get to the point here and find out if we REALLY want to be friends!
“Question number one: Are you eventually willing to discuss your life mess instead of playing pretend? If yes, continue onto question number two. If not, shut your face. Two: Do you like running?….”
Ha. Not really. (But maybe a little bit really.) But why hide real life? Can we
not go there? Is it because we fear rejection? Because we’re scared of how bad it would hurt if people don’t like us?… Man, I don’t know… but we all do it. Here… check yourself! Bet you can identify with one of the following:
Are you front’n about your past? Hey guess what… we’ve all done some really freakin’ stupid things that we wish we could take back. But do you own up to it?
See, that’s the hard part…The easiest route is to cover up our past, and pretend like we have been outstanding citizens of Earth our whole lives. But that’s not the smart path. That’s the fake path that is well traveled, but leads to a dull destination. Because when you open up, and you’re honest about who you really are or what you’ve gone through in life–people get you. And they appreciate you because they’ve probably been there too. If they don’t, …then who cares? Let them judge.
Are you front’n bout your running?
So just the other day, I was running with my good friend Beth McCurdy. We weren’t doing anything especially hard, just 15 miles at an easy-to-talk pace. By the end of the run though, Beth asked me if I was tired… “Yeah,” I said, “I’m hurtin’.” She smiled and said, “I love it when you tell me you’re tired! Everyone else acts like they’re feeling fine when I say I’m tired.” I started laughing and questioned why anyone would act like they aren’t tired. But shortly after I said that, I realized why: people don’t like to show weakness. It’s so stupid too, because acting like you’re some superb runner when you’re not doesn’t get you any better results. If you’re tired..you’re freaking tired. Just say so. Who gives a crap? I don’t have a daily mile, but I’ve seen entries on the site…:
“So and So ran 20 miles and felt TERRIFIC! Awesome run!”
“Just slammed a 10k in 45 minutes… Easy run.”
“Ran 100 miles. Felt good.”
…..I’m calling bullcrap on that. Really?? It’s probably best that I don’t have a dailyMile, because mine would be more along the lines of the sickening truth:
“I ran 20 miles and felt like death. I wasn’t even going that fast because I’m pretty out of shape right now. About 10 miles in, I questioned my existence and why I even run in the first place. The next 10 looked pretty ugly. However, I finished that crap so I could write this post and show all you guys that I’m not really a wimp.”
Nobody ever said running was easy so maybe lets all stop acting like we’re always having such a blast.
Now hold up, before I move on, let me clarify that I’m am not an advocate of complaining. But there’s a difference in saying “that run was hard!” and going on and on for months about your sore knees… suck that stuff up, buttercup.
Front’n Bout Happiness. This one is tricky. Because you can walk a fine line of being real and being emo. I tend to front about my happiness and I hate when I do it. I have a history of clinical depression. Not sure why but it creeps up every now and then in my life for a few months, and I’ll start running heavy miles like a mad woman.. I’m so phony about it when I’m going through it all though, I’ll be all smiles if I meet up with friends for lunch or something. And I should really stop doing this because I’m a bad faker. I always have to remind myself that it’s okay to not be [or act] happy all of the time. Sometimes life just sucks. I think it’s good to allow yourself to deal with suckiness in your own way, grow, learn, and move on.
Front’n on Social Media? PROBABLY! Social Media is seriously the Front’n Playground. Especially Facebook. It’s like we can be whoever the heck we want to be, easily excluding all of the crappy ugly parts of our lives and keeping the pretty stuff to share with the world. We act like “This is who I am!” when in reality, it’s only a glimmering polished fraction of who we are. But the funny thing is, it’s in those life moments that we don’t share– the ones where we act maybe a little too loony, get hurt, experience major disappointment, or struggle like crazy–that we connect with one another on a genuine human level. That’s beautiful.
…Yup. All examples of serious life front’n up there.
But wouldn’t it be great if we could move past all of the nonsense? I know whenever I move past the traditional “I’m doin’ great” facade with a person, I find depth and true friendship. My closest relationships are with people who have seen me at my best, but have also been down with me in the pits at my worst. Opening up about all of that human stuff–in the real–exposes us and makes us vulnerable to judgement and criticism, yet it also makes us relatable and lovable.
As for me, I’ll always risk ditching the former for a chance at the latter.
Oh..and by the way, this is a far more accurate portrayal of my family:
Be sure to check out the other bloggers who joined in on Jimmy’s synchro blog!
What about you?? Do you share your story with others? Why or why not? What are some ways that you experience “front’n”? Agree or disagree with any of the above? Leave a comment and let me know! Thanks for reading! ~Ash