I’ve talked a lot on this blog about vulnerability, being honest, the hard parts of life, trusting God, etc. but I realize that even those honest blogs that can be hard for me to post may be a facade I hide behind.
My mom and I are really interested in the Enneagram, which is another personality test but with a lot of levels. It has the Basic Personality Type, The Centers, The Wing, The Levels of Development, Directions of Integration (Growth) and Disintegration (Stress), and The Three Instincts (Mind, Body, and Heart).
All this to say, with the enneagram it’s common to say “I’m an 8,” (which I am) but it’s really more than that. The Enneagram is built on a childhood “wound” or “fear” and how you perceived it and therefore what sort of armor or facade you build up in order to protect yourself from that fear years later.
According to Enneagram Monthly, “Eights possess an instinctual sense of truth and the inherent ability to relate to others without prejudice. As children, however, they learn to conceal their openness as they observe a world in which the weak are often victimized and the truth is defined by the most powerful.”
Eights present as confident, assertive, and tough, even though there’s a deep tenderness there. But they present that way because of their childhood wound: a rejection experience in relation to the nurturing caregiver, which is usually a painful accident of missing each other or a misconception of the type of love either given or not given from their caregiver. Eights often saw the intense love coming from a parent as a manipulative approach to control them. So, in order to fight that fear, to armor themselves from this control or manipulation, they do all they can to have control, to be confident, and to be ahead of that loss of love.
All that to say, a lot of my personality could, in fact, be a facade. Or a consequence of that devastating misconception and fear from my childhood.
And knowing that sends me in a bit of a spiral.
How much of me is real, raw, honest, and true, and how much is a facade I’ve built up over years and years of fighting a danger I created when I was a kid?
And then I think: how much of my vulnerability, the things I share here, is a facade? Just another piece of armor put on to hide the world from the real pains?
These are the kind of questions that keep me up at night. And I have to remember that when I’m searching the Lord, when I’m trying to improve, when I listen to others and am honest with them about myself, then I’m probably doing okay. I’m worrying more than I need to.
I wear a facade. We all do. We wear a million. We wear the facade of confidence when giving a big presentation. We wear the facade of perfectly happy when a friend asks how we are doing in passing. We wear the facade of strength when we are weak. Of joy when we are in pain. Of resilience when we are vulnerable.
What I do here is try to fight that. For many reasons I won’t get into, but the main one is this:
Wearing a facade, putting that unnecessary armor on every morning is so exhausting and I’m tired of doing it.
And how will anyone ever get close when they don’t see the real me? How will I ever grow if I’m not honest with where I am?
How will I ever know who I am if I’m constantly playing defense to a monster I created?
Here’s my challenge to you: find out what your facade is, why you have it, and make one step to strip it away.
but i can’t let you see all that i have to lose,
all i’ve lost in the fight to protect it.
i can’t let you in- i swore never again.
i can’t afford to let myself be blindsided.
i’m standing guard, i’m falling apart
and all i want is to trust you.
show me how to lay my sword down
for long enough to let you through.
here i am, pry me open.
what do you want to know?
i’m just a kid who grew up scared enough
to hold the door shut
and bury my innocence.
but here’s a map, here’s a shovel,
here’s my achilles’ heel.
i’m all in, palms out, i’m at your mercy now and i’m ready to begin.
i am strong, i am strong, i am strong enough to let you in.