Fake it ’till you make it


If you pretend that you’re okay with something for long enough, eventually, you’ll be okay with it.

That’s kind of a problematic statement, though. It’s more or less the same thing as 

Be someone else until you become that person

Isn’t it?

There are times when I force myself to fake it ’till I make it. In order for me to have gotten to this point in my life, my key coping strategy has been performance. I assess a given situation, figure out the expectations, develop a persona that can best meet those expectations, and move forward wearing that costume. I’m starting to realize, in retrospect, that these personas start to disintegrate over time, and eventually I’m unable to hold it all together. So much energy goes into maintaining my situation-specific identity that I can no longer also accomplish required tasks as effectively, or in the case of friendships and relationships, be emotionally available. 

I am extremely successful at meeting expectations.

Until I’m not. 

In spite of my apparent successes, after falling apart so many times, I think it’s time to redefine success for myself. For all my talk about not wanting to intentionally pass as typical,

By performing normal,

Is that not exactly what I’m doing? 

Every time I take on the task of being someone else until I can comfortably be that person, I tell myself that the person I am isn’t worth as much as the person I’m pretending to be. 

The true irony of this for me is that I absolutely cannot abide when people lie to me. 

And yet. 

That seems to be all I do, at times. 

To everyone. To myself. 

If I give myself permission to show myself,

Awkward,

Run-on chatter word association,

Flappy hands,

AND I kick ass at the work I do and the love I give, 

Maybe, 

Just maybe, 

The only person I’ll ever need to be again is the one I already am. 

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5 Comments

  1. Shantoth said,

    September 8, 2012 at 2:22 pm

    This is just beautiful, friend. Love your insight. And miss your word association and flappy hands!

  2. Linda said,

    September 8, 2012 at 4:28 pm

    Yeah – -it’s just fine to let me be me !!

  3. Katzedecimal said,

    September 9, 2012 at 6:23 pm

    Found this via Lynne Soraya’s Twitter. I’m with you completely on this. Years of pretending to be other people left me with no sense of self at all; all I *was* was masks, there was no one underneath. People would tell me “just be yourself” but I no longer knew how, I honestly thought I didn’t have a self to be. I faked it, but I never ever made it, I just became fake. 2 years after my diagnosis, I’m still in therapy recovering & rebuilding my sense of self, & I’m facilitating workshops at our local Aspergers support society, where we teach ways to avoid “fake it ’til you make it”, to invite neuro-typical people to make square holes for us, without sacrificing our selves. Keep preaching your message, it needs to be heard.

  4. Katharina said,

    September 10, 2012 at 8:38 pm

    I was diagnosed at age 51. I’ve spent the last two years learning not to play a role, and trying to be myself. This is really hard. Lynne, thanks for putting into words what so many of us are struggling with.

  5. Francesca said,

    September 10, 2012 at 10:42 pm

    Isn’t it wondrful to know our God knows who we are and calls us by name. He gives us his love unconditionally as we face the challenges of today and He gives us his presence every tomorrow. Faith is the belief in what is not seen. Have faith.


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