I used to be much better at fooling people than I am now. I got so used to burying my thoughts and feelings that there were times it took me quite a while before I could go below the surface of what I did during the day to access how it made me feel and what I thought about it. Most of these thoughts and feelings I wouldn’t have dreamed of saying out loud.
My mom, who was my only real confidante for many years, still remembers how it would take me half an hour of talking with her about superficial things, then a half hour of crying without being able to say anything before I’d finally open up and tell her what was going on inside.
Looking back, I find it hard to believe that I held so much in for so long. My middle school and high school years were often tumultuous and sometimes downright hellish, yet rarely did my closest friends know what was going on in my life. Part of the reason I didn’t talk about illnesses, injuries, addictions, disagreements, embarrassments were because I didn’t want to cry in public. I didn’t want to be seen as vulnerable or weak. Plus, as is customary of dysfunctional families, we had an unwritten law that you just don’t talk about it to other people.
It surprises me now how deceptively good I got at acting like everything was fine. I earned good grades, was involved in clubs, hung out with friends on the weekends, and went to church, but on the inside I was deeply unhappy, stressed, afraid, and worn down from living the lie.
A song that came out in 2005 whose lyrics and the theatrical singing performance amused me because of how well they portrayed the duplicitousness of people. In the song, “Mother, Mother” off of The Secret Life album by The Veronicas, the following lines are sung in such a way, they’ve stuck in my head for years as a prime example of what people say versus what they’re really feeling:
“I’m hungry. I’m dirty. I’m losing my miiiiind!” “EVERYTHING’S FIIIIIIIIIIIIIIINE!”
“I’m freezing. I’m starving. I’m bleeding to death!” “EVERYTHING’S FIIIIIIIIIIIIIIINE!”
There's only One who always knows if what we're saying is truly in line with what's in our heart and on our mind. Others may think they know, but sometimes they're wrong. We don't always say what we mean or what we think. It's rather ironic that so often we crave intimacy, wanting so much to be known, accepted, and loved, yet we fear the vulnerability required to let others get to know us.
Lord, You who knit us in our mother’s womb, have known us from the beginning of time. You know each word and action, every thought and motivation behind it, yet You love us infinitely and desire to have an intimate relationship with us. You alone know us inside and out and can, therefore, love us more completely than anyone else. Lord, open our hearts, minds, bodies, and souls to such a profound intimate love, as Yours was, is, and ever shall be.