I get by with a little help from my friends

help from friends

I have spent a good portion of my life pretending. It starts pretty normally for most people. As children we’re encouraged to use our pretendenarium (as my husband likes to call it, imagination if you’re a normal human) to explore worlds without even leaving the comfort of our own backyards.

As I got older, the pretending kind of stuck with me. I was big into theater in high school, historian of our Thespian club thank you very much and I never missed a Thespian conference (ThesCon) if at all possible. Being on stage was all about pretending to be something you weren’t. It was a fabulous escape from the stresses of life to take a walk in someone else’s life.

But my pretending wasn’t confined to the stage. Like many high schoolers, I was trying to find myself and that involved a lot of pretending to be someone that I thought other people wanted me to be. It wasn’t until I had been married for a few years that I started to be okay with who I am, with the help of a loving and accepting husband, and stop caring so much about how other people saw me.

But even now as a wife and (almost) mother of two, I find myself pretending.

You may not know this, but I have this blog and sometimes I write posts that make it seem like my life is perfect. Sometimes I take staged pictures of a clean house or adorable child that make it appear that everything is fine and dandy and wonderful all the time. Same for my instagram feed or the photos that make it to facebook. They are carefully selected to only show the highlights; the good moments.

Sometimes I pretend that everything is okay when it’s not. That I’m okay, when I’m not. And I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess that I’m not the only one.

My visiting teacher came over yesterday morning and shared a wonderful talk with me from the Priesthood Session of this past General Conference. The talk was called On Being Genuine by Dieter F. Uchtdorf. While she was giving me the highlights of the talk(definitely go read it, link above), I had a lightbulb/ “Aha” moment.

Keeping our true feelings and heartaches and pains and sufferings to ourselves does no one any good. It doesn’t do us any good because talking about it helps, and sometimes the talking about it leads to great advice or counsel and that helps too. Keeping it bottled up doesn’t do anyone else any good because whether we like it or not, we are a people who tend to compare ourselves to others and if all you ever talk about is how great your life is as a mother, or wife, or employee or student, the people you’re talking to may start to feel like they’re completely alone in their struggles when the truth is you both may be struggling with the same thing. You feel me??

Believe me, I get it. I can be quite the pretender. It can feel embarrassing to admit that you get so frustrated with your child that you have to leave the room and take a breather. It’s hard to want to have people over when you don’t have the energy or desire to straighten up the toys in the living room let alone clean the toilet. It’s hard to admit money troubles, anxiety troubles, or depression problems. But it’s time that we do it, for ourselves and for our friends.

Life is difficult enough as it is without trying to put on a “Stepford Wives” mask and attempt to prove to the world that you too are perfect. Cause you’re not, I’m not, none of us are. We’re all struggling with something and we all need a hand from our friends to help us up. Even if that hand is just an understanding smile and listening ear.

I’m not saying you should constantly update your facebook status with all your personal issues. Let’s be honest, facebook really isn’t the place for that. But find that person or those people or your husband or mom or dad or sister or whoever it may be and let it all out. Don’t be afraid to be real and stop pretending. It’s something I’m still working on too, but I think that once we all start being a little more real, we’ll all start feeling a little better about not being perfect.

Some wise counsel from my sister, “Don’t judge your worst day by someone else’s best.” Sometimes the “best day” we are judging ourselves by is just another facade.

Let’s all try and simply get by, if only with a little help from our friends.