The Not So Great Pretender

I often walk through life thinking someone will find out the truth about me. They’ll find out that I’m all fluff and nonsense, a shell without substance, cotton candy. My nutritional value is exactly zero.

I am just like my yard, the front public view blooms with bright colors and lovely swept walks, while the back yard grass overgrows its bounds, weeds replicate in frightful numbers and a dead Christmas tree in April houses countless spiders.

Oh, look, it’s not a secret anymore. I just blogged the truth right here for all to see. (Bet you didn’t realize the subtitle of this blog is “True Confessions.”)

Seriously, don’t you ever feel like a fake? I do, all the time. I know all my failings, all my shortcomings, all my whininess and nitpickiness. I hear all those thoughts I never actually say out loud. I think those thoughts. I’m not a nice person. I’m not someone anyone should trust with anything precious or private or close to the heart.

This hangs in my kitchen, you'd think it would sink in to my subconscious mind.

This hangs in my kitchen, you’d think it would sink in.

For example, I often say “Yes” with a sincere smile, when my heart, mind and soul all want to scream “NO!!!! Are you crazy? Why would you ask such a thing of me?”

It’s almost as if some other entity has taken over my brain and formed my lips into the “yes” word. It’s automatic, instinctual, mindless. Where logic dictates a “no” answer, i.e. my schedule can’t squeeze another drop into it, I blithely, trippingly, child-without-a-care-in-the-world answer, “sure, I’d be happy to.”

Then I promptly and privately find a brick wall and bash my head against it, repeatedly. What a fool I am.

I end up letting people down because I’m overscheduled, unorganized and undisciplined. Then I really hate myself as the truth about me leaks out. I’m not reliable or consistent or kind or helpful or anything good at all.

I can’t decide if I’m super easy-going, lacking a back bone, or simply bonkers.

There’s also the reverse problem. I finally, blessedly, miraculously say “no” to something or someone. You’d think I’d breathe a huge sigh, pat myself on the back and get on with my life. You’d think wrong. I second-guess myself, feel guilty for saying “no,” feel selfish for standing up for myself and generally berate my decision and my no-ingness.

I can’t say “yes” and I can’t say “no” without repercussions. Oh, brother.

My kids know and recognize the truth. They know that mending projects may never get finished, regardless of my deeply sincere intentions. They know that “I’m going to bed early tonight” actually means I’ll probably be awake until two or three a.m. They know and have sadly lived with the raving lunatic driver who wishes her car came equipped with a bazooka and a bullhorn. They’ve seen this angry rock-hurling, lawnchair-throwing maniac pushed past her limits.

Lucky for them, they escaped and now live elsewhere. Miraculously, they still call and drop by occasionally, bless their hearts.

I also agree to things that I’m deathly afraid of. (Snake handling, spider killing, heights, skydiving. Sorry, no way. I can say no to those obvious things. That’s easy.) But, ask me to talk to a stranger, I about disintegrate. My insides shatter like so much safety glass. Try something new and different? My legs turn to jelly and I all but fall to the floor in a puddle of goo.

I’m sure people exist who are exactly what you see. No smoke, no mirrors. A secret hidden camera in their home would reveal nothing new or surprising. The public person would exactly mirror the private person. At least I hope so. I hope most people aren’t like me. Happy on the outside, roiling and gurgling on the inside.

It's like I'm intentionally bonkers, it just happens.

It’s not like I’m intentionally bonkers, it just happens.

I only have my own inner battle as evidence. I want to be the same inside and outside. I want to be consistent in public and in private. My inconsistency often overwhelms me and a kind of self-loathing takes over. A huge, overpowering self-excoriating  “how can I live in my own skin” kind of muck happens. It’s not pretty.

I can’t blame hormones, grief, sleep deprivation, lack of chocolate or the weather. I’ve been like this my whole flipping life. I want to convince myself that everyone battles inner demons like this, but I don’t have any evidence to support such a lame thesis. All I have are these boxes of depositions against myself, double stacked nearly to the ceiling, of how I’ve failed to live up to my own expectations, stand up for myself, be honest about my life and feelings, say what I’m really thinking, do what I really want to do, be the real me.

I’m sure some psychologist or talk show host would have a heyday with this scenario.

Even my computer understands my lack of back bone.

Even my computer understands my lack of back bone.

I’m a mess. I admit it. I’m the first to admit it. Well, MSH would also admit it, maybe. Although he says he still loves me. I’m not sure how he manages to do that. Pity or desperation, perhaps. Maybe he’s a little nuts, too. I don’t love me, so how can he?

Life makes me so tired.

Can I just crawl back into bed today and stay there until Saturday?

Does anyone have any chocolate?

How about a spare life-long around the world cruise ticket? I could use one of those. I’m sure it would help.












Categories: Communication, Humor, Mental Health, self-image | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

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16 thoughts on “The Not So Great Pretender

  1. Kent Mitchell

    Yeah. But when I become Supreme Ruler and Commander things are gonna change around here! Oft times we look too much at the stuff we didn’t do or didn’t do perfectly when we need to look more at what we did do and ALL that we have accomplished. Our grand plan should be to live the moment and enjoy it because that is all we really have? Just remind yourself that so far – you are 100% successful in getting thru bad and stressful times! 😀


    • I’m usually pretty good at focusing on the positives, but occasionally reality catches up like a small tsunami wave and washes me overboard without a life vest. I’m working my way back to the boat to dry off and take my bearings!


  2. Wow. It was like I wrote that. Except better than I would have, most likely. So much of the time I want to curl up and hide, but being the mom makes that nearly impossible. 😛 Thanks for sharing, it means a lot to me that I’m not the only one!


    • Judging from comments received, you and I aren’t alone in these feelings at all. If you’ll hang in there and keep plugging forward, so will I.


  3. Nyla

    I can so relate to the computer button. What a perfect analogy!


    • Thanks, Ny. Luckily my Apple computer doesn’t question my decisions like my PC used to. I question my decisions enough without help from outside sources. Luv ya!


  4. Nyla

    Easier said than done Kent. Is that thinking a man thing?


    • Kent is an optimist, plus he lives with Cheri, which is a little bit like having caffeine injected into your veins 24/7. Men do seem to be able to not get bogged down in the emotion of things. Wish I were more like that.


  5. Anonymous

    That’s me! I think you just saved me money on therapy lol


    • Glad to be of service. Therapy is pricey, too!! Buy yourself a nice hot fudge sundae with your savings and enjoy the moment.


  6. Becky

    I think most people are like this and I agree with Kent. Give yourself credit for doing what you do. We women often beat ourselves up about things like this. I don’t know very many who don’t but we also do a lot of good. This is exactly what the adversary wants us to do – just remember in the grand scheme the mending projects and the road rage aren’t really that important. Besides you’re related to ME so you have to be a little bit AWESOME because of that 😉 hugs and kisses because I think you’re amazing and I’ve always admired and looked up to you!


    • You are awesome Becky. I think it might be time for me to revisit my Happy Book keeping to remind myself of all the good and great stuff in my life on a daily basis. Mostly, I do okay, but occasionally can’t see past the brick wall in front of me to the view ahead, which is spectacular, generally. Yknow, you’re taller than I am by a couple of inches, at least that’s what the photos all show. You must have me on some kind of pedestal, scary…


  7. Anonymous

    Don’t worry, I know you well and still like you very much. I wouldn’t like you much if you were ALL THAT. I like real, fallible people. I can’t stand the know-it-all who would rather die before they’d reveal they have imperfections. That’s just too nerve-wracking to be around.


    • Thanks for liking me anyway. I try to keep things real, but sometimes reality is too real and aggravating. I suppose perfect would be boring though, huh?


  8. Leann

    Everyone DOES battle inner demons like this every day! Knowing that takes a lot of the pressure off. Come over and see my studio/office if you want to feel better. 🙂 Some days I feel like I’m drowning and not accomplishing what I want to in this room. Other days I’m nicer to myself and remember all the things I AM doing, even if they’re in other places. I need to say no more and have a personal schedule for at least half the day that I protect. Any ideas? Sharing this with you makes me feel better already!


    • Turns out I’m not the only one who feels this way. Reality and expectation collide far to often in my world, in the world in general, apparently. Getting enough sleep seems to be a key factor in how well I deal with the collisions of life.


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