I pretty much remember all the ‘Truth and Dare’ games I played during my adolescent years. They were all the same. My two younger brothers, the neighborhood kids and I all sat in a circle in my basement clamoring, “Not me. Not me. YOU go first,” until my youngest brother, Tim, would predictably take the lead and proclaim, “Dare.” Tim always chose dare. Whenever it was my turn, I always pretended to hem and haw about which to do – truth or dare – when in reality, I (almost) always chose the same option: truth.
Back then, telling the truth always seemed easier. Dares were scary: kiss a boy with your tongue, prank call your ex, or perform some insane physical feat that usually involved jumping from a decent height. Um, no thank you. But accepting a truth? That was easier. All I had to do was give an answer: Who do you like? When was your first kiss? And who’s your celeb crush? (For the record, it was McKenna Fielder and that first kiss was with him on a dare – one of the only times I chose dare…and my celeb crush? Chandler from Friends).
The way I saw it back then, a truth was simply sharing what was on my mind; it didn’t require anything special. But a dare? A dare required me to push the envelope and step outside my comfort zone.
A funny thing about growing up is that you never grow out of the game of Truth or Dare. In fact, life is constantly filled with questions that seemingly ask you to choose between truth and dare. But unlike the game of our former years, the adult version has one caveat: there is no choice. There is not simply “truth” or “dare”. Instead, telling the truth is a dare – it’s the biggest dare you’ll ever take and it’s the one you must take in order to move forward in life…and it’s beyond frickin’ scary.
Last week I was sharing with my classes how I seriously fumbled through Patricia’s intenSati class and how mortified I was to have her correct me in front of everyone. I was struggling with my fear of not being enough and the wound was still fresh. In order for me to tell the truth – the REAL truth about the shame I was experiencing – I had to dare to step out of my comfort zone. It was petrifying and exhausting and paralyzing to admit my musicality blunder.
But that wasn’t the whole truth.
The funny thing about truth is there’s always more truth to the matter – it’s usually the part we don’t want to address. When making the choice to dare to tell the truth, we take the path of least resistance. We find the piece that’s uncomfortable enough to share, the piece that’s just vulnerable enough to voice, the piece that still allows us to save face.
Why? We all love a good story. We relish in the story of struggle that rises to the pinnacle of victory. We marvel in the story of recovery so we can get to the redemptive end. Rarely do we see the wounds in the process of healing. Rarely do we walk into our story in the moment of struggle and allow others to see us fall.
Truth be told: there is nothing easy about experiencing failure. There is nothing easy about admitting failure. There is nothing easy about confronting our failure head on. Truth be told, the absolute last thing I wanted to do was address my failure head on. It’s one thing to talk about it as a “thing” that “happened.” Much different to pick up the phone and talk to Patricia about what happened in class and how I was feeling. Truth be told, I wanted to forget it. I wanted to erase the memory of everyone in that room. But deep down I knew that dares don’t work if you don’t fully take them on. Half-truths never become real truths. You cannot simply be kinda-open, tentatively vulnerable or apprehensively daring and hope to open up to the fullness life offers.
The REAL truth was I needed to talk to Patricia and it took me saying,
Look. I’m sorry for what happened today in class – not messing up, but how I reacted. I took you correcting me in front of everyone personally and I got in my head. I realized the reason I got so upset was because I feel like I have something to prove to you. I feel like I need to show you I’m enough so you know I’m capable. And so I jump higher and yell louder so you’ll notice me. All I really want is to know you love me – like you love the rest of the team, instead of feeling left out and like I don’t belong.
It took me owning my truth and saying the things I didn’t want to admit, for me to let her love me and for me to break down the ‘I-gotta-prove-to-you-I’m-worthy-enough’ walls.
I’m not going to tell you it was a euphoric shower of release. Every minute of it sucked. I’m not going to tell you it was easy. It wasn’t. But, it was worth it. Stepping into my voice and story taught me more about who I am and who I want to be than any other time I’ve simply skirted the edge.
It’s only when we reckon with our feelings and get curious about what we’re feeling – it’s only when we walk into our stories of hurt that we can transform the way we live.
This week, I dare you to tell the truth. Instead of hiding behind your Yes’s, I’m fine’s, and I don’t care’s – say what you mean. Instead of carefully scripting your social media life, share what you’re up against. Rather than wait until you exit the arena with your healed scars and gilded story, walk into your voice and share your healing wounds.
If we want to experience connection – if we want to experience love and belonging – it only happens through daring to tell the truth. Vulnerability unlocks the fullness of life…and all you need to remember is that you always hold the key.