Faking it

I watch my friend sell flowers like a pro and the beauty and artistry and sheer wisdom she brings to her work with brides, well, it dazzles me.  And when I compliment her she says only that she feels like she’s faking it.  “Oh, and thank you.”

And the first thought that comes to my mind is ” you looked pretty real to me” but then I think again and I realize that the true-er truth is that we all feel that way.

My other friend who blogs about how to blog and never completed grad school and had four babies instead and kinda failed at a thing or two she really cared about.  Well, I think she knows she’s faking it each day she pulls in a paycheck from her website and her ebook and answers another frequently asked question like a pro.

All of us mothers knew we were faking it.  The day we took our baby home from the hospital, or the midwife walked out our front door.  We knew the jig would be up soon.  That this small bundle of humanity, too fragile to do a thing for itself, would soon tell on our inadequacy as a parent.  Because we were totally faking it.

And now, I almost ready to bring home my third child, an older child, from China.  And I am so inadequate in the face of my numb acknowledgement of how much I am faking it, that sometimes it is hard to feel hope that it will all go well.  If a baby can tell I’m faking this mommy thing, I can’t even imagine how my sins will be found out by a nine year old.

And this is the truth, my friends.  That the things that matter most in life: starting a business, making a baby, raising a child, keeping a marriage alive fifteen years in . . . . well these things can’t be taught, they can’t be learned, there are no degrees and if we had them they wouldn’t matter anyway.

We all simply fake it.

Fake it till you make it, they say . . . . about confidence, about sales, about business . . . . . about sex?

But what if we did this instead?  What if we faked it till we believed it?  What if we realized we are only really trying to fake out ourselves, our feeble inner voice that still, despite all other evidence, continues to try to whisper-shout ” you’re not enough”, “you can’t”, “don’t try”, “give up.  This is probably the only voice that really cares that we’re faking . . . that views faking it as a liability rather than a strength.

Because what if faking it was really a sign of our great inner adequacy, our ability to take on what we have never done before?  What if we fake it because we have the courage to believe in ourselves despite a lack of proper paperwork declaring us fit and able.   And what if all we really need to do is fake ourselves out long enough to begin to believe how really REAL we are . . . as mothers, business owners, friends, counselors, professionals,  women.

I remember when I was about twelve I asked a mom I admired when she first began to feel grown up . . . . What she told me has stuck with me all these years. ” I still don’t feel grown up, I still feel like a little girl inside, trying to figure it all out.  And when I look in the mirror, I am always surprised by how old I really am.”  Inside of us all is that little girl, wishing to be enough and not too much all at the same time, and never quite sure she is succeeding.  Wanting to be convinced of her adequacy.

So fake it till you believe it my friends.  I value with all my heart  taking off the masks, living vulnerably, transparently, and being your best and truest self.  But if faking it is what it takes, to convince those old scripts, those old beliefs, those old voices, that you are really enough.

Well then, fake it till you believe it.

We all do it.

When you see me next with my new nine year old who speaks no English and doesn’t know what a vacuum is – just smile.  I probably will be smiling too.  Faking it like crazy, unless I’ve already believed in myself enough, to admit that it’s harder than I hoped but I’ll get through, anyway.  In that case you might see the tears of a big girl.  Who isn’t always enough but has finally learned to be okay with that.  Learned that it isn’t proof that I’m a fraud.  But actually proof of the opposite;  proof that I’m real.

Yes, I fake it it until I know that I’m the real deal.

And it works.

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