Not I: Pretending to Have Everything Together?

The last few weeks have been hectic, to say the least. I’ve felt like I’ve had to juggle a million responsibilities while maintaining my cool. Some years ago, I would have deprived myself of insane amounts of sleep, become strung out on coffee, and literally burned the proverbial midnight oil every single evening just to finish my work.

Now, I’ve learned to swallow my pride and admit that I’m imperfectly human. When I mess up and overbook myself, I tell the person who I have to break plans with the truth about what happened. I email clients and keep the lines of communication open if I know I won’t meet an editing deadline. I call clients the minute the GPS says I’m going to be more than five minutes late to an appointment. To me, informing the other person even a little bit ahead of time is better than trying to pretend like I can do it all when I can’t.

“I’ve learned to swallow my pride and admit that I’m imperfectly human.”

The same goes for my emotional state of being. I used to bottle everything up inside and never let people into my world. If someone did something that bothered me, I didn’t speak to them directly the moment the infraction occurred. If I was overlooked, I didn’t rectify the situation. If I had good news that I wanted to share, I kept it to myself and wondered why no one celebrated with me. Granted, the last one doesn’t happen often, but that’s not the point.

In general, when it came to my feelings, I kept my mouth closed. Those days are gone. Although I’m not quick to speak up, I have learned to establish safe spaces in specific relationships where I share my feelings openly and honestly. At times, it takes the other person acknowledging that things between us have changed, but I try to do my part.

I don’t want to go back to the life where I pretend like I have it all together when I’m crumbling inside. There’s freedom in allowing people to see my imperfections so that they don’t put me on a pedestal. I don’t want to be someone’s idea of perfect because, eventually, I will do something to ruin that notion. Instead, I just want to be me.

“Don’t put me on a pedestal.”

Reflecting on these things now, I recognize that I took some of my “pretender tendencies” into past relationships. This probably also explains why I did my best to openly display my flaws and quirks early on in my most recent relationship. My walls went up when something was done that bothered me. I kept him at arm’s length and refused to tell him what he did to make me become so cold. In the end, as I continued living in my own bubble, he gave up trying to reach me. The relationship ended shortly after that. After the last time this happened, I promised myself that I would do better. I would be better.

When I think about it, I can’t put all the blame on myself. One of the things that hit home was that relationships require two people putting forth their best to make things work. Simply put, not everyone will think I’m worth fighting for. Conversely, not every man I date is necessarily worth me expending copious amounts of time and energy to please and appease. Rather, fellow navigator, I believe a time will come when I will meet a man whose very essence will draw me in. It won’t be just any connection; this one will be real.

I see it happening almost like a magnetized force pulling us together. No matter how our words or actions hurt the other person, we will still come back together and try to make things work. It won’t be because we can’t live without each other. No, it’ll be because we see something in the other that we’ve never seen in anyone else before.

What do you think, fellow navigator? Are you walking around like you have it all together? When was the last time you embraced your beautifully imperfect self? Tell me about it!

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