Over this past weekend The Chad and I were talking truths. I am a huge fan of truth; speaking it, telling it, hearing it. Naturally we were discussing my uncanny ability to always tell the truth. My super power has a tendency to offend people. As we were hashing the details of past events of my truth talk, a certain person who has been offended, not only by my truth but my ability to only offer empathy, came up in our conversation. The person(s) has a tendency to wear Post-It notes of dubiousness, yellow stickies they are unaware of themselves, that scream out insecurities. I asked The Chad the truth about whether or not I have these same yellow notes, just as a matter of self-inflection.
Tap dancing, he wanted to avoid this conversation, however I assured him that in order for me to find the truth I needed to know his truth. His response is that I give a shit what other people think of me on some level. Not that I give a fuck what they think, that is way more deep, but I give a shit. The truth is, the truth hurts. What The Chad told me hurt, just a little, only because I was already aware of this little fact about myself. The truth only hurts if we let it, if we let it define us, rather than letting someone’s truth help to shape us.
A few months ago some friends of mine made a very brave move to share their truth with me. I am so honored, blessed, and thankful for their love and honesty with me about a very sensitive subject. In no way were they looking to hurt me but to share with me a situation that they knew I would want to address or something I was completely unaware of in my life. To this day they are still mortified by the conversation because it was so awkward and one that is so personal, however, I could not be more thrilled, happy, and blessed to have people who give a shit in my life to have that uncomfortable discussion.
I was told I was the stinky girl. I was horrified. Mortified. Embarrassed. Shocked. Disgusted at myself. Completely in denial. Above all else, I was hurt. I was hurt because of the story I told myself. I told myself that they must be repulsed by me, that they must think I am just a dirty person. My imagination was running rampant in a matter of seconds as I continued to tell myself that my friends must just think I am disgusting.
Tripping down Alice’s rabbit hole of worst case scenarios of self deprecation and destruction, I conjured everything awful in my mind about the situation. In actuality, their truth was that I smelled something awful after a workout and they didn’t know how to tell me so they just told me, in a text. I couldn’t blame them. The conversation was equivalent to dropping a Hiroshima size bomb on me that a face-to-face would probably send anyone running away after sharing the news. Their truth was also that they cared enough about me to tell me because they knew I would give a shit.
Processing I sobbed. I called, texted, and wrote everyone I knew that I had come in contact with, surely I could not be THAT bad. How on God’s green Earth could I have horrible body odor? How the hell did my husband not smell me? Was he a stinky bastard too! Did I have some medical condition now? Did I always smell like this even in street clothes? My truth was, I didn’t stink, period. Truth is, everyone stinks when they workout. No way this was me! I wore deodorant. I showered more than religiously. I scrubbed my clothes. How the hell am I the stinky girl? I wanted to hide. I wanted to never speak to anyone again, how could I show my face if I am the smelly girl!? Processing more through my hurt I was finally able to rationalize the whole situation and what my friends were telling me. What they were telling me was NOT that I stink.
Come to find out I didn’t have any rare medical condition and my showering and deodorant were truly working. What else was working? The diet supplement I was advised to take for fat loss. This amazing supplement can cause a “fishy odor.” Um, fishy odor is an understatement. Upon a 24 hour detox, (thank goodness for a short half-life) I found the smell was like rotting fish vagina; the scent was pungent, left a nasty taste in your mouth and called for flames to douse the aroma. God bless my friends for tolerating me for however many months I radiated this awesome, post workout perfume.
In this whole incident I found out so much about myself, the people I have chosen to surround myself with, and how we process truth from those who care about us as people. What they were telling me is that they knew I gave a shit what I thought about myself. Not that I cared what they thought about me, because they knew, I knew, that their feelings were not ill-willed or hurtful and any feedback they gave me was coming from a place of love. No matter how awful the message may come across. They also knew that what they were telling me was not to be hateful or rude or projecting, what they were telling me spoke to my “not giving a fuck” attitude and more of my “give a shit.”
Just like any story, the truth lies somewhere between your reality of the truth and their reality of the truth. Not to say that either is any more heavily weighted than the other, but upon hearing another person’s truth we are able to have a glimpse into their reality. Their reality is their perception, their perception is what they believe to be true. So when I took my personal attachment, ego and emotion out of the situation I was able to rationally deduct and seek out a problem, a problem I did not see for myself because I was in the thick of my own reality. A problem these people in my life knew I would give a shit about solving.
If we as people are able to take ourselves out of our equation then we can reasonably find an alternative answer, resolution, and acknowledge a situation we were unaware ever existed. Sometimes these situations, lack of acknowledging the truth, could be hurting ourselves (and others) on some level. When we are able to remove the emotional connection or attachment reflection can bring about subtle or substantial changes. In those changes, those moments of clarity, we begin to accept the truth and realize our full potential. The truth is the truth hurts, but only if we let it, and I am thankful I did not let any truth hurt me but shape my future.