Nothing brings an awesome day to a grinding halt quite like someone pissing in your cornflakes with an observation like that.
It’s not the first time I’ve had something like that said to me and each time it’s been said by someone who has known me since before surgery.
You know, when all of this started I couldn’t stand the way some of the most successful weight loss patients I talked to seemed to measure their time “before surgery” and “after surgery” like it was a rebirth or resurrection. It seemed so silly to me but now I get it. I measure everything that way.
So when someone who was in my life “before surgery” says….
…..you seem more serious now…
….you’re not as funny as you used to be…
….you look sad….. of course!
Of course that’s how it seems to those who knew me back then. You know why I used to hide in my basement for days at a time? Because the energy it took to be the fake bastard I used to be was unbelievably draining. When you play pretend that long it becomes work. I worked pretend. You don’t fake it ’til you make it. You fake it ’til it breaks you.
The person people remember being friends with, partying with, working with, or even dating never really existed. It was always me, just amped up on self-doubt trying way too hard to be accepted.
So it’s not that I’m sad, or more serious, and I haven’t forgotten how to be funny.
I just save those things for genuine moments.
I’ll admit living the way I did for as along as I did has left me emotionally numb. I’m insanely sensitive and overthink just about everything – but that’s internal. I don’t wear my emotions on my sleeve. I think the most basic, most gracious thing we can do for one another is be consistent. Back when I was a manager, I never wanted any one on my team having to stop outside my office door and think “what kind of mood is he in?” and use that to filter the things they would bring to me on any given day.
I try to live that same way. I want the people I care about to know what to expect from me. I don’t want anyone to have to cope or handle with what’s happening in my life. And in the right situation with the right person, the wall comes down and I’ll be share it all.
That’s not fake. That’s emotional accountability. In fact, it’s exactly why I don’t fake it now.
If I’m smiling – it’s real. If I’m laughing – it’s real.
And when it happens, and it happens a lot, it’s a completely real, and that’s the best feeling in the world for a guy like me, who has been where I have been.
If I’m not who you think I should be, that’s my fault too. I lied to you for years.
I defined myself to you as someone I knew I was not. Small confession, sometimes I miss that liar too. When I was fun, I was really fun and when I wasn’t I was alone.
So I’m not sad. I’m just me. This is just what my face looks like when I’m not smiling a fake smile to convince us both that everything is fine.
Reality is the cost of honesty.