Faking It Vs. Making It

Tyler Spangler

I've always been a performer. Literally, I struggled for years to make it as an opera singer; meanwhile attempting to convince myself (and my mom, who put me through college; and the psychotic voice teacher I eventually had to break up with because she started spending half of every lesson trying to sell me organic cleaning products; and my poor ex-boyfriends who were not unreasonable in their disdain for my practice of communicating only via cheap sign language and feelings scrawled on post-its so as to rest my vocal chords but simultaneously whine about the crushing stress of my chosen career path during the week preceding an audition #runon #dontcare) that I wanted to make it as an opera singer. In reality, I chose opera because I was uncannily good at it and I thought it would make me more interesting... and I didn't love anything else enough to top that reasoning. So I faked it.

Throughout life, I've feigned interest in all sorts of things I thought might better me somehow or make my life more exciting. For a time, I was concurrently enrolled in sewing classes with a man named Tchad (with a T), guitar for beginners and French lessons with a surly French dude who needed drug money. I inevitably got overwhelmed, ghosted my French tutor, told Tchad I'd had an "episode" but didn't delve further, and successfully completed Guitar 1 because I have long fingers and my peers and I took turns supplying the class with booze. Win some, lose some. Likewise, I've dated boys I had no business dating --  emotionally destitute and openly damaged boys; boys who simply wanted to replace their recent ex-girlfriends (three examples who come to mind are once again in relationships with said recent ex-girlfriends. So. You're welcome.) Boys who needed a girlfriend, the only requirement being: girl... check. Granted, I didn't know I was faking to start out with -- I was just trying different scenarios on for size. But I wasn't terribly quick to admit they didn't fit, either.

Right now, in life, I'm worried that I'm wandering further and further away from my authentic self. A lot of the major segments of my present existence -- work, family, friends, home, love/lust/whatever -- are very new, so in a great many of my regular practices, I have absolutely no idea what I'm doing. Truly. No f*cking clue. And I'm walking the awfully sketchy line of opening myself up to new experiences versus fighting to be a person I am not. So too, the aforementioned line is difficult to identify, and easy to cross, when one doesn't know precisely the sort of person one is. But what would happen if we didn't try different scenarios on for size? We'd wind up with a busted wardrobe, that's what. I'm talking jumpsuits with short crotches. Short. Crotches. Not fly. But we wouldn't know to shop a size up in jumpsuits if we didn't model them first, and a world without jumpsuits is a fiery Hell pit, basically. So the lesson is: try. But don't suffer through. Here are some immediate actions I'm taking to ensure that I minimize suffering through, and continue to walk my own grimy little path, regardless of what glimmers along the way:

- I will use the internet for good. Two years ago, my dear friend Toridotgov.com wrote a piece called The Internet Makes Me Feel Sad, and you should read it. Because the internet makes everyone sad. It hums alive-electric with a trillion misguided motives and mouth-breathing insecurities, and I find it encourages insincerity. But it also houses free episodes of Broad City, so I'm going to go in, get what I came for, and get the heck out. At least for a while.

- I will rely a bit more heavily on my girlfriends. I have people I can call every day for a month to report on the status of my ongoing existential crisis. And they give a sh*t, or pretend to, which works just as well for me. It's good to feel loved, it's good to remember that I'm not alone in this stage of adult female development, and it's good to note that things ebb and things flow, even if every damn thing is hardcore ebbing right now.

- I will pay attention to how I'm feeling in any given circumstance, and I'll honor it. I'll write it down, even. If I'm giving a presentation, for example, do my words actually mean anything to me? Why or why not? Do I just need to freshen up my verbage? Am I entirely over it? Am I burnt out? Do I need a cookie? All important questions. Even more important -- if I'm not giving a presentation, and am rather just talking to a human as another human, do I feel like I'm giving a presentation? Am I performing? How long ago did I abandon my path and where is the cookie crumb trail back to it?

- I will simplify my day to day. I won't bend over backwards if I'm not feeling it. Only in yoga. Namaste.

My basic understanding of faking it until you make it is that you test out everything, but are honest with yourself in your experimentation. And then you adjust: you can alter a jumpsuit. Or find a tailor to alter your jumpsuit, before you jump... ship. You either fairly assess your current situation and make the necessary changes to it, or you find a new situation. And you recall, always, that you're a person and you're trying. So stop being so hard on yourself, (Rose) unidentified girlfriend. Things will click. Truesdale out. I love you guys. I love your guts.


Rose TruesdaleComment