When the Facade Slips

 Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty ImagesJoel Kinnaman Suicide Squad

We all can relate to people’s weaknesses. We might put up a facade that everything is perfect but none of us are. When we see that weakness in somebody else, we understand or give ourselves a little bit of leeway.

Joel Kinnaman


We all do it.  We put our best self forward, put a smile on our face, and when asked, respond with, “I’m fine!  How about you?”  We are all fine, until we aren’t.  The facade we so carefully present to the world, slips.

Thanks to WordPress we all have the facade of professional bloggers.  Now, I’m not saying we aren’t excellent photo journalists, feature writers, fashion editors, motivational gurus, and commentators.  But maybe we aren’t all that tech savvy.  I began on a typewriter, graduated to word-processing, and now look at me.  A very professional looking blog.  Thank-you WordPress.  (And you can do it too!)

In our real lives we are surrounded by people, some we know and many we don’t know, who are all coping with situations we know nothing about.  If we are close, they may be comfortable enough to tell us of their life difficulties.  Maybe they just lost a job, have a spouse who drinks a little more than they are comfortable with, are drowning in debt, or they are worried their child might die of a drug overdose, or a host of other situations.

We dress ourselves up, put on our protective shell, and try to look like confident people able to handle anything.  Sometimes we can actually fool ourselves into buying this act.  But the curtain always comes down and we are left alone with our weakness and pain.

We may not think about it very often.  We know our lives aren’t perfect, but we struggle on.  We expect ourselves to deal with it.  For the most part we do.

I guess that’s why, when a man comes up to us, in dirty rags, asking for money, because he is active duty on leave, with a baby at home and no food, a sick wife, and he can’t find the VA offices that are not in this part of town and are probably closed at 7:30 p.m., we are suspicious.  The guy hit all the soft spots, but like Hubby said, no one who is active duty would look like that.

Perhaps we should have taken him into Starbucks and gotten him a coffee and tried to get the real story.  In this area, there is a one-in-four chance that the man is a drug addict.  I would bet he is homeless, or very nearly.  But then what?  Drug addiction is a problem in our community of Huntington, West Virginia (perhaps the worst in the country) and every place of worship, every civic group, every community organization and every level of government is focused on this problem.

So it’s like Joel Kinnaman says, “we understand or give ourselves a little bit of leeway.”  Everyone has problems.  When the curtain falls and you are alone, remember you aren’t the only one.  Others can understand, even if they don’t have a handout that can provide temporary relief.  Perhaps sharing with others is a start.

Don’t Hide Your Light

An amazing pianist plays at all the church functions, and shared that she wrote a piece of music and was going to get it recorded at a local studio, except that she put it away someplace and can’t find it. What really makes this story special, is that this pianist, like many self-taught musicians, cannot read notes, and does not know the names of the notes on the keyboard, but plays entirely by ear. Another musician wrote down her music for her, and she put her one copy away and now, she can’t find it for the making of her recording.

Just like her, I have gone through every drawer, box, nook and cranny of my home looking for stories I wrote and put safely away. I moved them from place to place around the country, and I can remember exactly where they were in different homes. I decided I wanted to share my stories with my grandchildren, my church, my blog, and I can’t find them. The good new is that the very polite rejection letters are also gone, even letters telling me my effort is good, but does not fit their current editorial needs. My work is hidden, even from me. Lost.

Whatever you do, don’t be afraid to share your creativity. The reviews might be mixed. Your family may not understand why you waste your time when you could be doing something productive like training for a marathon, before rushing off to work and then back home to take care of families at night. Your friends might politely say “That’s nice,” as they rush off to pick up the kids and take them to their next scheduled event. Busy people don’t have time to sit and appreciate your creativity.

But there is a light of appreciation you see reflected in the eyes of others when they take the time and really appreciate what you have done. Others will admire the work and skill put into that crocheted baby blanket, quilt, or beautiful and tasty meal. When your work of art or writing creates exactly the response in another person that you intended, you have stepped beyond admiration to heart to heart, mind to mind connection.

If you hide what your creativity, you will never know the joy of appreciation or connection. So get yourself out there and do some self promotion. Enter contests, use social media, pass it around, do whatever you can think of, just don’t hide what you do. If those closest to you don’t appreciate what you do, there are those out there who might, if you give them the chance, so follow your heart. You will be happier as a result.

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