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  • Writer's pictureDale Partridge

“Fake it, till you make it”...

Hearing that made me cringe. Immediately I’d silently lash out at its wisdom. I would hear the phrase as “be a phony, there’s no harm in fooling them”, or, “just let people think you can do it; it’s enough.” You likely get how deeply I’d refute the glib axiom. Even today, as ‘authenticity’ has become another glib idea, I become defensive, challenged by ‘fake it till you make it’. 

Yet I acknowledge the fake maxim in my ‘Tenets’, or the things I believe about how we grow and develop as people. Plainly, if we did not carefully copy and inculcate all the things we’ve been taught, directly or by witness, we would have remained completely dependent and perhaps of little value. We all started by faking ‘it’. Pretending, imitating and even longing to be ‘like’ others or things we knew we were not at the time. Many of us learned well. Experts in conforming to the expectations, rules and demands of others, we know the power they have over us. Power meaning they can reward or punish us. They’re god-like, in charge, controlling the chaos around us, while being safe, admired, feared and of course, right. So we imitate them, as we’re taught.

So what will I fake today? How will I demonstrate how well I’ve learned to be another? The choices are exhausting, occupying every cell and memory we’ve evolved just to be here. And at what point do I deviate? Or is deviation only an ego’s wish to matter more? As if by simply being different, I have proved my authenticity, my legitimate place in life? Or, have I taken on some higher calling for myself, some way to be or contribute that makes my life worthwhile to me, perhaps others? That would be interesting. Perhaps joy. The wondering, the contemplation of it, its invitation; scary. And part of our natural “imposter syndrome”, fearing we are not real; we betray ourselves. 

When such choices occur to us - when we feel it’s time to be real, not a fake or copy of something else - we emerge. We become. Like the caterpillar escaping its own body in order to become a butterfly, it is an act of destruction and creativity, death and freedom; simultaneously. And we must witness and feel it all. We must see what we’ve become, who we are, and why we respond as we do, with compassion, curiosity and courage. In seeing ourselves for who we are, we must do it with love and respect, regardless of whatever ugliness we know we are too. That too must continue to be part of us, as our new awareness helps us see and appreciate our new choices. With gratitude for the pain, respect for the destruction and a sense of wonder for the beautiful opportunity that emerges, we can find our place to be who we are, uniquely. Finally we are able to be, expressing what our heart urges of us; to give or create as we can - humbly, being us, completely. Like every one of us, our gift is simply to be - in tune with ourselves and our choices of how we will live and contribute, honestly; minute by minute.

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