I’m a fraud.

I have been much of my life.

There. I’ve confessed it.

I didn’t become a fraud on purpose. Truth be told, the role of fraud, of what Webster defines as “one that is not what it seems or is represented to be”, snuck up on me. I didn’t even realize I was a fraud until I was well into my 40’s.

And by then, I didn’t know what to do about it. I had no idea how to be on the outside, to the world, what I was inside.

Maybe you can sympathize. Maybe you’re a fraud, too.

Perhaps, like me, you stepped into the role early in life. Perhaps you, too, put on a brave face to your family, to your elementary-school classmates to hide your insecurities, the social awkwardness that you were absolutely sure nobody around you experienced. To hide the hurt over not measuring up or fitting in at school. At home.

Over the years, what began as momentary defense mechanisms to small things that seemed huge at the time became much more. It became a facade I felt I had to maintain. And so, I did.

People expected me to be outgoing. I complied. I was the person who would talk to anyone. I was chatty. Even outspoken.

People expected me to be strong. I acted more than strong. Overly-strong, perhaps even aggressive at times.

People expect me to handle things competently and without undue negative emotion. And I did. Until I had enough and got angry.

People expected me to be magnanimous when slighted. I became impassive, and later to even smile and say “no, really, it’s fine” when hurt. Even when deeply hurt.

I adopted the persona of the person I needed to be in order to avoid hurt and to avoid disappointing those I cared about.

So who am I really?

Truth be told, I’m a paradox.

I’m an introvert who is somewhat — sometimes, more so — socially awkward. Yet I long for a circle of close friends, an even wider circle of casual friends and active social life.

I’m uncertain of making decisions, but I am fantastic at making plans.

I’m a world-traveler-wannabe who struggles to figure out all the travel details for a week-long solo trip.

I’m creative, yet I allow my insecurities to stop me from doing much more than start a project.

There’s more, but this soul can only take so much confession at one time.

Now, before you get the idea that I’m absolutely miserable, let me assure you I’m not.

But I want to live authentically.

I sound like a cliche, I know. The 60 (okay, 61) year old woman who is determined to rediscover that young woman she once was and to be that person again.

Maybe I am.

Or maybe, just maybe, instead of a cliche, I’m simply normal.

Maybe there are many other people — women and men — who have chosen to live on the outside contrary to who they are on the inside and are now ready to toss away the facade.

To become who the Creator designed.

I don’t know if there are or not. I do know that I’m ready — more than ready — to live authentically.

To not only life a redesigned life, but to live it is the originally-designed me.

I wrote this post a few days ago and have debated whether to share it. But I’ve decided that if I am going to live authentically, I have to start doing so. Not sometime. Today. Thank you for reading. 

Remember, this blog is meant to be a place of dialogue, so please take a few minutes to share your thoughts via a comment. Thank you so much!