The Defenseless Pretenseless

You’re a fraud.  You heard me right.  I said you’re a fraud.  I’m a fraud, too.  We’re all frauds.

This is the conclusion I recently came to when I saw the viral video below.  You’ve probably seen it in various forms.  It’s several subjects with 4 photos each with ever increasing glasses of wine in their system.

At first glance it’s amusing to watch people get goofier and goofier as you work through the series.  But you know what jumped out to me?

Picture #1, no wine in the system.

We all get that alcohol loosens you up and lowers your inhibitions, your defenses….but think about that for a second.  That means that we are all walking around pretending, positioning, posing, perpetrating a fraud!

We are not who we say we are!!!

…and the pictures in this study support that.  Take a close look at who those folks want you to believe they are in picture #1.  Then juxtapose that with who they seem to be as wine pulls the curtain back.

I think this is why roommate situations between longtime friends so predictably go bad at such a high rate.  I think it may have something to do with the high divorce rate as well.  It’s really a question of authenticity, right?  You don’t really know or get the authentic truth……until you do.

I remember when I first met my wife, Kat.  We were both working for Whataburger.  She was the boss.  As we worked together we got more and more friendly, more and more flirty, etc.

Then one day, after many hours of burger flippin’, I pulled off my plastic apron and paper hat and turned around to a stunned Kat.  As it turns out, she had never seen me without my hat and was fixated on my (at that time mostly) bald head.

There was an awkward pause….and then we both burst out in laughter that went on for awhile!

And THAT was probably the first truly authentic moment I had with my future wife.  It can be the glue of human relations…..or the end of them.

Powerful stuff this authenticity…you fraud.

(If you care to defend or make a public confession regarding your fraudulent life….please use the comment section below!)

Seeds from Chaos

Humans are creatures of habit, routine being so important to all of us at one level or another.  I would probably fall on the high end of a “need for routine” scale.  I use it to keep life moving forward.  Workout, breakfast, work, lunch, work, dinner, family time, bed.  Rinse and repeat.

There is value in routine and it will always be an important part of my life.

However, today I rise in defense of CHAOS….the enemy of routine.  A little chaos can be a powerful thing.  It is important to growth.  What follows is an example that is personal for me.

In the summer of 1988, Yellowstone National Park was on fire. Several large fires occurred in the same season, grew out of control, and savaged the familiar landscape of the park. At the time, I was an artillery soldier stationed at Fort Lewis, WA and my battalion was one of many battalions ordered to deploy to Yellowstone to assist the Forestry Department in fighting the fires.

This was personal for me.  My folks met in Yellowstone.  My grandfather was a naturalist in Yellowstone.  My father was a Park Ranger in Yellowstone.  We vacationed in Yellowstone routinely when I was a kid.  Many of my siblings worked summers in Yellowstone as we grew older.  Yellowstone will always be a part of who I am.

I remember flying out of McChord Air Force Base to somewhere in Idaho before getting transported by bus into the park with my unit.  We arrived as the sun was setting that day and that made it easier and easier to see small pockets of flames in the woods as we entered the park.  It was eery….  I had spent countless summers being instructed on the importance of making sure your campfire was completely extinguished.  So my instinct was that we should pull the bus over and put out these small fires lest they should grow into something bigger.

I clearly didn’t understand the magnitude of the problem.  I would in the coming days and weeks.  The nation mourned the loss as heartbreaking images were brought to American living rooms by the media.

Yellowstone was tragically lost forever…

But wait….Yellowstone is still around and doing quite well, right?  How is that possible?  Well, as it turns out, the horrifying summer inferno of 1988 was just what the park needed in order to grow and renew itself.  I claim no expertise in this area but apparently the amazing lodge pole pines that make up much of the landscape in Yellowstone require fire to release new seedlings.

So, you see, the fires served two purposes.  They cleared away layers and layers of unburned brush accumulated over years and years when the burn policies in the park were less friendly to natures system of renewal.  The fires also unlocked the seedlings needed for new lodge pole pine growth.

For me, this story is emblematic of how chaos can be a powerful agent of growth in other areas of life.  If you want to grow corn you must disrupt the soil before you plant.  If you want bigger muscles you must break up the muscular fibers with exercise in order to grow your guns.  If you want to grow another curl in your brain you must study that which you do not already know and challenge that which you do.  If you want growth in a current relationship or to establish a new relationship you may have to introduce some form of disruption to the situation.

So invite a little strategic chaos into your life and release those seedlings.  And while you are at it…don’t discount that seemingly useless underbrush in your life.  Without it there is no fire, and the seedlings never get to work their magic.

And so it begins…

An outlet….we all need one I suppose.  I’m no exception.  And since we live in a social media age…well here we are.

When one is recording his first blog post there comes that moment of pause.  Should I or shouldn’t I?  What if I can’t….?  What if I’m not…?

Well I probably shouldn’t.  I probably can’t.  And I’m probably not.

But…I’m going to write for awhile anyway.  Whether I continue to write will be a mix of “am I having fun?” and “is anyone reading this blather?”

(Hint: Both would be nice but only one is required.  Can you guess which one?  Make your guess in the comment section!)

My goals with this project are fairly open ended and flexible but I think they hover mostly around the following:

  • Diversion
  • Stimulation
  • Discussion

My hope is that some of the postings here will stimulate a healthy comment section….and that if you are moved in some way by what you read you will consider sharing via social media.  That would mean a great deal to me.

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And so it begins…