During what I thought would be a quick & casual weekday lunch, a good friend of mine said [out of the blue], “I bet you put on a really good brave face.”
I must have given her a funny look, because almost immediately she said, “I mean, all these things — a new job, leaving your best friends, moving 14 hours away from home, watching all of your best friends tailgate at football games, seeing their pictures on Facebook, having to figure out what it’s like to be a real person, in NYC no less — isn’t that hard?
I thought about it for a second and started to feel something well up in me that I hadn’t felt in a while. It felt like some weird mix of sadness, loneliness, anxiousness and worry. It didn’t feel good… and the more I thought about it, the more that feeling started to sink in. Because the truth, if I’m being completely honest, is that there are still some really tough things to deal with when you make a move as big as this one. And regardless of how tough they are, I’m just not the type of person who really enjoys talking about them.
I’d much rather put on my best brave face.
Almost instinctively, I try really hard to make everything in my life look picture-perfect. And for what reason? To prove myself? To who?
During my long runs on the weekends, sometimes I’m filled with emotion and energy and feelings of gratitude that I’ve been given legs to run and lungs to breathe. I feel like I’m invincible, unstoppable, free. But then there are the tough days, the days I just feel like stopping. The days where I feel winded and tired and definitely less than motivated.
Do I tell many people about those days? Definitely not. No one likes to brag about the bumps & bruises that really hurt (well, women at least).
Sometimes, though, the only way we heal is to diagnose the problem & tell someone about it. So, in an attempt to heal my bruises, this is me openly admitting that I do put on a brave face. I think that’s the best thing for us to do in some respects. To keep going, keep moving forward.
But truthfully, no one can wear a brave face forever. Sooner or later that face has to come off. We have to let people in. And we’ve got to admit that as perfect as we’d love our lives to be, it’s the imperfections that teach us things. The bumps in the road that remind us to appreciate smooth sailing.
And it’s the people we learn to trust & lean on that make all the difference.