On “Keeping it Real”

Time for some real talk before the week ends.

I am sitting here getting some work done before the sun sets and a thought came to me. It’s a thought I’ve thought on many times before and that I voice with my husband many times over, though I’ve never said much of it publicly. The thought is in keeping it real. I don’t like the term and frankly, the fact it has become a catchphrase annoys me. I understand what is meant by it. I know how important it is to be real and to “tell it how it is.” I understand no one should ever water themselves down and more, no one should ever sacrifice their integrity for the sake of being “Liked.” That’s not the part that annoys me. What annoys me is when we use this term to assume things about people that are not true, we perceive wrongly and our discernment is off. Why is this? Because “Real” is different for each individual but we act as if it means the same for everyone.

Just because I limit my profanity, read the Bible, encourage people and don’t say the first thing that comes to my mind doesn’t make me fake, for instance. This is who I am and these are things I do even when no one is looking. I am not perfect just a little boring. I like to read all day, spend time with my family, write, laugh and drink wine. That’s literally it as anyone who knows me and has been around me more than 5 minutes could testify to. No one is worth me getting out of character for so I don’t try to “fit in” by being unfiltered. That would be fake of me.

Another example is on telling the truth. I do understand the realness that deals with being open and frank about things. I encourage it because it’s needed. For example, women, don’t get with a man just because the sex is good.

That’s a form of keeping it real or telling it like it is because you are telling the truth. But, this doesn’t always mean the person is being real either. I’ve spent years around people who were direct, forthcoming, and to the point but were still phony. Not because I think they should tell all their business or because the things they said weren’t true but because they were not being a real reflection of who they truly are.

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My point is what’s real for you isn’t necessarily real for someone else. You may be funny, loud, quiet, outspoken, reserved, or direct. My blog has a serious feel to it because that’s my persona. I’m a serious person. I expect your blog to reflect your persona. If you’re funny, be funny. If you’re truthful like in our example, if you tell people how it is, no filter, be that. The point is, people don’t have to act like you or do what you do to be authentic. They may post a lot or post a little but that doesn’t mean they are trying to get something out of you. They may tweet a lot or post on Facebook or IG a lot, that doesn’t mean they are seeking attention. Maybe they are just “doing them.” Maybe they actually enjoy blogging. Maybe they enjoy posting. Perhaps it’s fun to them. Maybe the standards and limitations you apply to your own space don’t apply to them. Maybe, just maybe, this is who they are. Remember this the next time you judge.

 

Enjoy your weekend people.

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How did I change clothes so quickly? Tee hee.

 

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Integrity

I really dislike this day and age where everyone wants to be seen and praised and prized. Purposely present to spew pillars of knowledge pulled and preserved for a time. No one wants to be silent but everyone wants to be wise. So we selfie our way into stardom on the ground. No one wants to stand behind the curtain or risk being forgotten, or admit that integrity is doing what’s right …even when no one’s looking.

To Write a Heart

How do we trace the outlines of the invisible?
where despair won’t touch you gentle
and secret won’t fingerprint its way out of chest
and won’t poetry its way out of fear
the darkened cave of mankind’s deepest secrets
and treasured desires
the place he enters through the mind
tucking away all inner thought
inner being
inner wish
inner fantasy
that real self
hiding in thought
a storage place for his hopes
his hatreds
dreams and guilt
a peeled off echo of coming and going and knowing better
this is his resort
his vacation away from himself
his place of residence
he lives here
inside the cave made of chest
the place he thinks no one will ever find
can we write the heart?
take it beating
bleeding
and dripping with genuine
soaking with regret,
and repentance,
and expectation,
and nerves all tender like
hanging suspended in the air
or on the closet hooks of his thoughts
under the bed spread of memory
flowing back and forth like waves
we stand knee deep in his tears
our clothing soaked with his love
and his hatred too
can we contextualize the heart?
twist it
turn it
influence its shape so that it fits on these lines
can I drink your thoughts?
so that you relate to lyric
and your heart fits the silhouette of this pen
and puts a dent in white paper

To Be Real

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Real isn’t how you are made,’ said the Skin Horse. ‘It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.’

‘Does it hurt?’ asked the Rabbit.

‘Sometimes,’ said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. ‘When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.’

‘Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,’ he asked, ‘or bit by bit?’

‘It doesn’t happen all at once,’ said the Skin Horse. ‘You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.

“The Velveteen Rabbit,” also called “How Toys Become Real,” is a children’s novel written by Margery Williams and illustrated by William Nicholson. First published in 1922, the story was Williams’ first and most popular children’s book. If you’ve never read it before, the story is about the journey of a toy velveteen rabbit learning about love and what it means to become real.”

*******

People talk a lot about realness today, but few people understand what it means to really be real. The phrase “Keep It Real” is prominent, yet many people are not willing to hurt for it.

“He longed to become Real, to know what it felt like; and yet the idea of growing shabby and losing his eyes and whiskers was rather sad. He wished that he could become it without these.”

Why is wisdom measured by old age? I suppose its because by the time your hair is gray and your knees buckle and you can’t walk as far, by then you’ve gone through enough heartache to know real. You see, you’ll never be real without going through the furnace of affliction. Yes, diamonds are beautiful, but they had to go through much pressure to get that way. The truth is that we learn early on to hate ourselves because we learn to fight against disappointment, to buck against pain, and to despise trial. We learn not to rejoice in the bad but to complain about it, never once considering that such pain is reaping strength in our favor. As a result, we end up being fake most of the time because we’re not strong enough to be weak.

“Of what use was it to be loved and lose one’s beauty and become Real if it all ended like this? And a tear, a real tear, trickled down his little shabby velvet nose and fell to the ground.”

This. This most painful, most humbling of a moment. Now, you’re real.

The Velveteen Rabbit

The Message

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Social Media has become a glossed over, cloudy place. It is filled with fake persona’s and instant celebrities. People post pictures of their cash and checks on Instagram for instance (something you’ll never see Bill Gates do. Let’s be real, people who make real money are quite about it. Big boys hit hard but move silent) and weigh their worth against the backdrop of numbers and likes. Instead of focusing on the message we have focused instead on the computer screen and have invested instead, not in the voice, but in the marketing and promotional schemes of so called professionals who get rich off the backs of those of us too lazy to be ourselves. Research is all fine and good but what it boils down to is a nice balance between research, advice, and your overall message and the people who care about what you have to say. If you rely too much on research and professional input then you just may miss the message.

A message doesn’t have to mean a religious message. If you have a voice, which we all do, then you have a message. We can define a message as:

“a communication containing some information, news, advice, request, or the like, sent by messenger, telephone, email, or other means.”

When someone writes a book they are sending a message out into the world. It doesn’t really matter what the book is about, every book has a message because every book has a voice. And just like every person with a voice, we all have different sounds and calls to action. Sometimes, we get so into the online aspect of writing that we forget about how important the message is. It is not the marketing plans that will bring readers to you. Though they surely help, ultimately its your message. It’s your voice. Do you have one? That is what will determine your readership.

“Focus on what makes you different, what makes you unique. Being true to yourself is a cliche for a reason — it works. People don’t want to connect with something fake. They want to feel understood and heard, and the only way you do that is honestly and authentically. The last thing you want is to showcase to the world a shadow of your true self.” – Curiouser Editor

What do you want to say to the world? Why does it mater? Why is it different than what the previous person has already said? The sky is blue. Why is the sky blue? Why is it important for us to know that the sky is blue? Is the sky blue?

People who agree with you will flock to you because you sing in a key similar to their own. They are the people who actually want to read your books and who will in turn support your work. The only way to do this, as Curiouser Editing has stated, is to showcase your real self in your writing but not just in your writing, in your overall social media presence.