Wednesday, September 22, 2010

What Happened When I Stopped Pretending

Faith is a healthy way to believe that things will work out despite what it looks like. Fear of judgement is where the Land of Make Believe usually creeps in. I lived a long time, unfortunately, in the LOMB. It began very young with expectations of me; which were all good by the way. However, I always felt that I had to live up to each one without having checked in with myself to see if it was authentic to me. For instance, people would say "Monica is so nice", "Look at all that long pretty hair", "You're so good at math, you should major in finance", "when are you getting married", "how do you keep it all together", "you're so strong" and so on and so on and so on.

My response was to always be nice and hide my emotions, never cut my hair, make sure my math grades stayed up to snuff, majored in finance (despite my dislike for finance as a career), get married, always keep it all together and under no circumstances show weakness. Here's the thing. . .it is absolutely exhausting to be all that everyone wants and what I thought they needed me to be. The funny thing is I later found out that what people actually needed from me was to see that I was a real human being with feelings, emotions, reactions, etc.; to know that I too experienced life's hardships. And what they really wanted to know is how I handled them without falling apart.

I didn't know any of this until I sold my lovely glass house in the LOMB, took the blue pill and moved to a better suited neighborhood for me in the Land of Authenticity and Truth (LOAT). To prepare, I had to :

  • Spend a lot of time praying, thinking, processing, pulling apart, putting back together, pulling apart again, understanding, grieving, looking, etc. at everything related to Monica D. Hairston (before marriage) and now Monica D. Cost (after marriage). I to understand, who I was then, now and who I wanted to be. After years of unintentional programming from my mother, teachers, society, media, etc., it was a difficult process to get back to me and just me.
  • Develop a deeper relationship with God, separate from any mentors, spiritual advisors, pastors and friends. I needed to hear His voice so clearly for myself. It's very easy to think that every word is for you and it isn't. I understand that He loves me so dearly. Any kinks and quirks that He would like to work out, He will in His time. If you have any issues with my life or my choices (and I haven't specifically asked you for your feedback or they aren't detrimental to my health or well being), please take them up directly with God. If He agrees, he will make the necessary adjustments. Thank you for your cooperation :).

  • End a 9 year relationship with a wonderful man and AMAZING father who should actually write his own blog/book on fatherhood. I can't say enough about this man's commitment, participation and love for his children. He would actually be upset reading this b/c to him, it's normal; however, we know in many cases, it isn't. I always envision being his publicist, but that might be too much. LOL! I digress

  • Quit my corporate job and start my own business - I've always been an entrepreneur at heart. As long as I can remember, I've had a side hustle. Now it is my full time hustle :). Not everyone is meant to be a business owner. Know yourself. I HATE routine. I love for everyday to offer new possibilities and to be able to be the architect of each day. That's just me. It's not for everyone.

  • Learn to cry when it is warranted - alone first and then with others, I'm still working on this. I may have some as far as I'm going to, but since this is my truth, it's okay :) I'm just not a big crier.

  • Share some of my challenges and how I'm coping - this is so others can know that every hardship is a moment in time, not the scope of your entire life. My mother taught me that and I'm really good at putting things in perspective. Thanks Mommy!

  • Stop feeling a need to go to every single thing I was invited to - I'm a working mom with many responsibilities. I will certainly not be missed at every event.
  • Give the people who care about me (and can handle it) some version of the truth when they ask "how are you?" Given my role as "strong tower", I often felt compelled to keep my challenges to myself for fear that any hint of that would question my strength (God forbid :)).
  • Not be afraid to utilize my network for support when needed

It has been quite the journey from LOMB (land of make believe) to LOAT (land of authenticity & truth). I am still realizing, analyzing understanding and growing. So far, I love who I am at the core. As we all do, I have areas that I am working on. My hope is that the people that are in my life and that continue to come in, will support my journey.

This journey I'm on is for the good of others. No more pretending.

I would love to hear your thoughts.

Live your truth,



  1. Great post, Monica. I think something must be in the air. I'm trying to learn many of these things, myself. My favorite is, "Give the people who care about me (and can handle it) some version of the truth when they ask, 'how are you?'" You're right. When you're the strong tower, they assume it's all good. Thanks for sharing your journey with the rest of us who are also in the thick of it.

  2. Wow! Monica, it feels like there's a lot more where this came from. Really deep thoughts that could only come from your authentic self. Straight from the heart. There are many of us, who share your truth. Something greater is on the way. I can feel it and I know you do too. Keep on writing. I can't wait to read your book! Thanks for sharing.

  3. Thank you. Nichole and Helena. I SO appreciate your comments. Please pass along.

  4. This is sooo true, and much needed. Thank you Monica for making the conscious decision to be naked and not ashamed.

    -C.J. Miller