For most all of us rebel-types myself included, faking anything was not only disingenuous but against my very being of who I was. I wore my feelings on my sleeve and I called a spade a spade. I thought that’s how being a “real person” was suppose to be. It wasn’t until I went down the long path towards being the closest to the super-self inside me than I’d ever come before that I began to finally understand and make peace with the phrase “fake it till you make it.” What a self-loving breakthrough it turned out to be.
Back in probably 2001 I was in need of a night job and I found one while hanging with friends on a Saturday night that also was a possible social life mixed in. I started waiting tables and bartending at the local bar all the high school kids from my era hung out at (I graduated in 1987 lol – the olden days) while raising two boys alone and both at that pre-teen to teen years. If that wasn’t enough one son had learning disabilities requiring my presence at school too much for a full-time day job and the other was getting out of control in other ways. So I scrapped corporate ladder climbing and did right by my kids. I ended up at Chaser’s Bar where the owner was also an old high school acquaintance as well.
That was where “faking it till you make it” redefined itself in my head and ultimately lead me into the successes in my life since. Despite the school problems with my children there were also issues living with my folks since my divorce and moving back in with two boys in tow and we had many parental disagreements where I was outnumbered 2-1. Many nights I’d leave my home for work in tears feeling my sons and I were in a desolate situation. Also different from my past experience in offices as an executive admin assistant I was not buried in work behind a cubical to hide my sullen angry face. Waitresses or bartenders are never allowed to be angry or rude its just the way it is in the server business. Not at least if you want to make any tips and that’s what you live on.
So I made up my mind that when I got to the front door to walk into this party bar I’d take a deep breath put it all behind me for the night and turn on the “server Laura” person. I was smiley, friendly and outgoing like I’d never been before and most of these folks were high school people I once couldn’t even talk to. Not only did being “server Laura” work for me and gain unfounded respect from my peers but it ended up helping me deal with the stress I couldn’t control at home. Taking time out to not think about problems is a healthy thing to do I discovered. We cannot fix them if we are surrounded with worry all the time. We also cannot go around buried under them. It was so ultra cathartic to go to work every night. That feeling carried through me and got stronger and is there even to this day.
I can say to you out there who feel the “fakery” of being fake that there is a happy medium. I can tell the difference between being “fake” and “faking it until you make it” because the latter is a coping mechanism meant to “retrain” your brain to be able to handle tough times. The best part is the more you practice it, the easier it becomes to not let this that or the other thing ruin your day. Being “a fake person” is just not being genuinely you or pretending to be someone you’re not often at the cost of belittling someone else.
When you start learning to accept who you are and that not everyone will like you and that’s okay you’ll start feeling confident. But as you do this there will be times when you have felt that confidence and walked that John Travolta Saturday Night Fever/Stayin Alive walk but then go home and feel like a total loser again. That’s where you have to “fake it till you make it” and remember the feelings when you walk that “disco strut” and “fake them” after being pulled back into that loser state of mind. Its going to be a trial and error exercise, no doubt. But one thing I can promise is that if you stick with it- it gets easier and easier. Before you know it things just roll off your back and you know not everyone will like you but the right people will.
So, until you can make it without faking it.. I leave you with a confident strut, and hope you’ll fake your confident strut too.. because undoubtedly if you do it long enough, it won’t be fake anymore just who you are.
Wherever you are I wish you happiness where you think you should be. Know that I am exactly where I am supposed to be and very happy.
Love, blessings and encouragement,