Honesty Junky

I used to get feedback that I was too honest. The problem is, when a friend asks "how are you?", I actually answer the question. I've been told that I make people uncomfortable. I was told that a yoga teacher needs to be joyful and happy. And I was also told that as a mother I especially needed to put on the disney-land smile at all times or else I'd ruin my child.

It would go something like this: "How are you?"... bring on honest facial expression plus body language accompanied by some sorta statement along a scale of 1 to 10 from horrible to... well, fine. I'm pretty sure I would also slap on a smile in there somewhere so that if my answer was a little morbid my asker wouldn't be too freaked out. I am not suggesting that I pour my heart out to every human I engage with. I am discerning about who I decide to open up to and how much, always weighing how close I am to them and how much time or space we have to engage beyond the surface. But I will own that I tend to engage pretty high on the honesty scale, even with grocery store clerks where I might engage with responses like "I'm okay today" instead of "great!". Regardless of the public opinion, I actually love this side of myself and appreciate the same kind of honesty especially from my friends. I would rather hear how a friend is actually doing than getting only fake-rehearsed cheer. I can see and feel what's happening anyway. And if it's not spoken to, I'm often left feeling uncomfortable in my skin. Like I never even really had an interaction with the person. And even worse, am left with a hungry feeling for more of my friend.

But what I'm noticing is that my honesty scale of 1-10 stopped at "fine" or sometimes "good" at best. There was no "great, beyond yummy, successful, ecstatic, loved...". Over the last couple of years as these have come more into my life, I've had to find words for them. And, ironically, guts to express them without fear of scaring people off. But perhaps the hardest part: to hear the words come out of my own mouth and truly receive them myself. I'm amazed by how uncomfortable it is to embrace "things are better than I could have expected". To allow in success is way riskier and edgier than I ever thought. I think I had forgotten that authenticity includes not only the dark, but also the light.