Does anybody remember the game show “To Tell The Truth?”
The host would read about a minute or two of autobiographical information written by the person one of the persons sitting who would be accompanied by two imposters. There would be three celebrity judges who got to ask questions of each person and then, at the end of the round, the celebrities and audience would get to vote on who they thought was the real person who everyone was portraying to be. After all votes have been casted, the host would say, “would the real (whatever the person’s name was) please stand up?” I was amazed at how many times the audience, the judges and myself got it wrong. People can be so easily fooled because of how people answer questions without blinking.
It makes me wonder how many of us are walking around with two other body doubles and the world is unsure of which one is the real us. The truth is, all three of us, the superhero, the angry, depressed one and the authentic one (or whomever your other two body doubles are. Those had been my constant companions for years) can all answer the questions, can all crack a smile, all answer by the same name but only one of us knows what lies deep inside, remembers what it is that brings us the most joy, responds to those things that deeply fulfills us and can see and feel our identity outside of our titles.
My mother sent me this picture a couple of weeks ago. I wanted to scream when I saw it. I “did” ask her to send them to me and I “did” realize I used to weigh this much (yes, for those who didn’t realize it, that’s me in the picture). The tears burned as they fell from my eyes, not because of the weight, but because I remember how unhappy I was with life in general and one of my body doubles had taken over because my existence was a blur. I remember the pain (all of it) but I was not living. If you had asked me then who I was, I would have said, “I just graduated from college and I just lost my baby last year so I had another one. I only make $7.00 an hour and my husband doesn’t love me.” I probably wouldn’t have even told you my name. Wow. You would not have known that my precious little baby boy was six weeks old on this picture and I had just driven home to Chicago to take him to my parents for the first time and he’s been sleeping through the night ever since or that my $7.00 an hour job was at Planned Parenthood and I helped people shaped their futures and make the right decisions for their lives or that I was the first in my family to get a four year degree and that I was currently in graduate school or that I have helped several women deal with loss after losing my son Jordan the year before and that my husband and I did go our separate ways and it was the best thing for both of us. And I am Tasha, a free-spirited, sensitive soul. It’s all about perspective. I hid behind my misery for so long (long after that). Who I really was didn’t have a fighting chance. I didn’t know who I was anymore.
The awesome thing about life is that as long as you are breathing, there is room for improvement and you have another opportunity to take another shot. The other awesome thing is (“awesome” is an awesome word I picked up from my awesome seven year old daughter) that you cannot go wrong being your AUTHENTIC self. Who you are is who you are. You don’t need a body double. You don’t have to go around pretending to be someone else. You DO need to tap into who you really are and resist the temptation to label yourself by what you have, what you do and where you’ve been.
Will the real YOU please stand up?