Wednesday, June 22, 2016

We Live In A Society Where You Have To Fake It Till You Make It

This posting is going to be going off in all different directions but will have a common theme - fake it till you make you.  Because that is what we have to do to survive in this world.  

I went back to DC for a conference for work, which was amazing.  Cause a) it was in DC and b) because I got to learn more about what I am actually supposed to be doing.  But this blog isn't about that.  It got prompted when I was flying back.  For some reason, and I am not complaining, I got seated in the "plus" seats (which is like the first class section).  I never get those seats as usually you have to pay more for them.  Which I didn't.  I thought at first it was a mix-up and when I got my actual boarding pass, it would have a different seat, but it didn't.  So when I boarded the plane, and I got to do that first as I was classified as an important person, I sat down. And waited.  I waited for one of the flight attendants to come up to me and say 'ma'am, there was an error in the system and you don't belong in this seat'.  But they didn't.  And so the whole flight, I was trying to make it look like I belonged there.  Like I wasn't shocked/happy/elated that I got to eat actual food on the flight. Or I could order beer without having to pay for it.  Or get snacks.  Whatever.  I didn't abuse the situation (I got my food, ordered a beer but didn't get anything else) and maybe that could have tipped them off that I didn't belong there.  I don't know.  But I made it the whole flight without someone telling me I didn't belong.  I faked it till I made it there.  

Most jobs, from the start, you have to fake it.  You have to pretend like you know exactly what you are doing and learn as you go.  In the jail, that is what happened.  Our first day, we got PREA training and hostage training and then the second day, our supervisor gave us our caseload and told us to go do therapy.  The first client I saw, the first session, I was nervous as fuck.  But I couldn't show that, especially in a jail.  I walked in like I knew exactly what I was doing, like I was exactly where I was supposed to be and it all worked out.  Every time I went and saw a client, most times than not, I was shooting from the hip.  And nobody died.  That is my usual threshold.  If nobody died, then you did a fantastic job.  Eventually I didn't have to fake it anymore.  When I walked into a housing unit, I knew exactly what I should do or how to act.  When I was meeting with a client, I knew how to interact or what to say to help out.  But it took some weeks, perhaps even some months, to get to that point.  And a lot of anxiety in fear that my cover would be blown.  

Working in Nebraska, whew, a lot of faking it there.  My first day I went and talked with a new admission and had no clue what I was supposed to say or do or how to act.  What if I said something that would cause this person to flip out?  Or ask the wrong question?  Or portray my employer in a bad light?  And the first time I held the supervisor phone.  Or was administrator on call.  Or did therapy.  Whatever.  It was a lot of shooting from the hip.  And eventually, I told myself to fuck it, and do or say whatever I think will work at the time.  At the end of my day/shift, if nobody died or supervision wasn't lapsed, then it was a successful day.  And that soon became my mantra - if nobody dies, you did a good job.  Kind of pathetic when that is the measuring point, right?! 

At my current job, I still feel like I have to fake it.  I have never done intellectual property so I am learning everything as I go.  Some people look at me like I should know everything and again, I shoot from the hip, or tell them that I will figure it out and then go hunting for procedures and process on how to do things.  And when I actually get something right, or know something that I shouldn't really know, I am excited/elated/astonished at myself, but nobody else is because they already think that I know that.  It kind of takes the funness out of proving to yourself that you are smarter than you think when people already think you are smarter than you are.   

Volleyball does this as well.  Normally, when you start a new team, or play the first game to see if you are a fit, your game has to be spot on for them to like you and want to keep you.  And being a setter, that is a lot of pressure on a person.  Faking it at volleyball is quite difficult - either you can set or you can't.  You can hit or you suck.  Whatever.  But you gotta fake the confidence that you can play with that team and play at that level.  Some nights, I will tell myself that I will have the best setting night and when I have a bad set, or some bad plays, it takes every ounce of my being to not let it get to me because then I will have no confidence.  

No matter what though, confidence makes it seem like you know exactly what you are doing.  Even when your insides are all jumbled and topsy-turvy and you feel like you are going to puke, as long as you show confidence and that you know what you are doing, people will believe you.  Nobody wants to know what is happening on the inside - it is all about how you are portraying things.  Pathetic, isn't it? 

Meeting people can also require faking it.  In more ways than one.  There is a saying 'you can hide the crazy'.  Fake the sanity (if you are in that boat).  I am a hermit.  I am shy.  I am crazy introverted.  I have a people limit for the week.  And when I am talking with someone, I need to fake it, fake being a sociable human.  In the past, when trying to meet a guy, and they ask me what I do for hobbies, when all my hobbies are single-person geared, it may raise some flags.  One guy actually said "why don't you have more friends?" That is a very difficult question to answer as my truthful answer would be "people make me tired and grumpy.  For the most part, I dislike people".  Not the best answer when trying to find a relationship.  Most people don't want to be with a person who doesn't like people.  

Also, when a person, such as myself, has mental issues, you need to fake that as well.  Which can then in turn cause more problems later on.  The more you have to fake being happy, the more you have to fake being around people, the more it takes a toll on a person.  It becomes mentally exhausting.  But that is the world we live in.  If we are around people, you need to have a smile on your face because that is what people expect.  God forbid you look unhappy - that can't happen.  Fake happiness no matter what is happening.  Whether you are in a relationship, or with family or friends or at work.  You must portray happiness at all times.  But people don't understand the ramifications that can have on a person.  But this will come up in a different posting (stay tuned).  

But there is a point in time where you have to draw the line.  When faking it becomes so disgusting you just can't do it anymore.  And you know what - it is a liberating feeling.  However, you have to have people who understand the person behind the fakeness.  And I am lucky that I do.  I have friends who understand when I am peopled out.  I have family members who understand that being in a big group for a long time mentally and physically exhausts me.  I don't feel the need to fake as many things anymore.  But it look a long time getting here.  It took many, many times telling myself to fuck it and not care what people think of me. Because guess what - they may not be in my life forever.  So why bother impressing people who are transient in the grand scheme of things?  If you show your authentic you to the people that matter, then you are living a wonderful life.  I now tell people when I don't know something.  I don't feel the need to dress up in clothes that aren't me.  I will go into meetings and look confused or ask questions instead of sitting there, acting like I know *exactly* what is going on.  The older I get, the more authentic of a life I want to lead.  And it feels wonderful.  

Moral of this blog:  f*#k it and stop being fake.  Be you.  Be unprofessional.  Be stupid.  Be crazy.  Be sad.  Have a bad day.  Let the world see you for you.  Be everything except not you.  


  1. Just too many things for me to comment on, so will leave it at this: You are brilliant.

    PS I have decided I want to be more like Lady Olenna from Game of Thrones. Not only does she NOT fake it, but she calls people on their bs-iness.

    1. She is a little spitfire, that is for sure!!!