The True Value Of Honesty
Q: What is more valuable/satisfying for you to hear/see?
A. In my first month or so in LA, coming out of an audition at West Coast Dance theatre, I walked down the sidewalk with my eyes on my phone. I don’t remember what the audition was for but I know I got cut, and was still sweaty and in a relatively decent mood. It was a gorgeous day. 20 steps out of the studio, I got knocked in the hard brim of my snapback hat and hit the ground in 0.2 seconds. I had no idea what happened—I had been busy looking up my bus route in Google Maps, and probably Instagramming if I’m being honest. I bounced back up and looked around. Not a soul was in my vicinity, but a couple of swaggy guys averted eye contact with me from across the street… which is some how more embarrassing than if we had all laughed together at my foolishness. I looked straight ahead on my path… I had walked head-on into a thick, low tree branch jutting out over the sidewalk. I was so caught up in the virtual world of my phone that I missed a real world tree… right in front of my face. It left a visible scar on my sweaty forehead. A lesson in paying attention.
…probably A on all fronts.
It’s not that A is more satisfying just because it involves something ‘negative’. A is just way more honest. It’s a true, vulnerable, unfiltered depiction of what happened, including my feeling of embarrassment and a bit of a painful lesson. Both A and B are descriptions of the same moment in time. Obviously B is more like an advertisement than a human story. It omits everything that might lead you to think I’m not living my dream life. Sure, it includes hashtag words like ‘grinding’ and ‘blessed’ but gives no detail of the sweat, the awkwardness, even the mundanity of audition days. It leaves out the pile of singular crumbs that make up a whole experience. It tries to ‘create a vibe’ of accomplishment and contentment without enough backstory to get an audience invested beyond general passing interest.
It has taken me a really long time to come to grips with this particular truth: we crave and greatly benefit from honesty. Social media and curated Hollywood content and even the news all have a vaguely dishonest ‘spin’ that avoids a lot of true vulnerability, leaving out crucial human details. These things can be satisfying in other ways: we love to see creativity and production value, bold performances and magnified beauty. But deep down we still want evidence that not everything is rainbows and kittens all the time… because we want the stories we take in to relate to our own lives. We all have a natural honesty-gauge. We can tell when a story or person feels ‘forced’, ‘fake’, or ‘overproduced’. Our favorite form of honesty is comedy… we laugh at all the weird human tendencies out there that most aren’t brave enough to point out. Being honest doesn’t have to mean being serious… although leaning away from ‘serious’ takes practice.
Writing these blogs is slowly teaching me the true value of honesty. The best blogs are the ones where I open up and just say what happened and how I’m feeling about it; the ones I am often scared to publish. The ones that make me look like a human being who makes mistakes and has very little actually figured out. At a time when major world leaders and celebrities seem to have such a hard time admitting their mistakes, I don’t mind jumping on the opposite trend.
I have an old template from when I was pretty young—a desire to seem like I know a lot that gets in the way of actually learning things. I used to say that I had heard of books or songs that I hadn’t, to seem ‘smart’…in front of people. But in pretending to know about stuff, I blocked my own curiosity and exploration of the subject. For what? People can tell when you really know what you’re talking about or not. Why lie when you could dive into something new? What’s so scary about not having heard of something… no one in the world knows about every single thing. Faking it all the time takes away from the utter satisfaction in moments when you actually do know about a subject, and can share your enthusiasm about it. ‘Faking it’ is a weird mechanism for avoiding low stakes embarrassment, and it only puts strain on you and the conversation you’re in. Trust me… I have tried it both ways.
In finding my writer’s voice, I’m attempting self-discovery. I’m uncovering deeper truths about my life and my heart. I’m also ideally giving all 13 of my readers something a little more satisfying than just polished resumé Loosh. You get the shiny parts, the quirky parts, the emotional parts, and the parts I’m working on, and we both glean something a little more valuable in the process: honesty.