When You Must Be True

be true journal

I think there comes a moment for many of us in this “millenial” generation where the world just becomes confusing again. For many, the first really confusing moment appears right at the beginning of college, trying to choose a major. I know I had that same kind of moment before I decided that I couldn’t ever be anything other than a writer. But looking at the people I graduated with, most are either married with kids or in the midst of finding full-time work. I guess I’m kind of in the middle, hiding away, drinking exorbitant amounts of coffee, and writing. Every day. And I love it — really, I do. (Especially the coffee.)

This got me thinking about the middle, or rather, the “happy” medium. Does it really exist for those of us living in this constant state of hyperawareness, habitually updating statuses and revising resumes? Did it ever really exist at all? I’m not sure I know the answer to that. But for me, anyway, I think I live in this middle space.

It was thinking about this that made me remember a phrase I’ve been mulling over. Be true. I got the saying from a sticker supplied by my mentor last semester, and I’ve tried to write about those words half a dozen times — about what they really mean — but I couldn’t figure it out. I guess I wanted whatever I said or wrote about that phrase to be perfect. I wanted to be perfect.

But the truth is, I’m human. Whatever I decide to do, it’s my decision. As long as it feels right, then I’m being true to myself. In this life, sometimes that’s as good as it gets. Sometimes that’s the “happy” medium. So that’s the moment I discovered what “be true” actually means; that’s the moment when I was finally able to write about it.

I got to thinking that maybe “be true” is not actually about those two words — the way they look typed on a page, the way they sound on lips whispered over and over. Maybe it’s about how they’ve carved rudimentary striations against bone, to be kept inside forever — or maybe just until, because that’s the only way to see it now. The thing about lines, though, is that when you fix them and move them and trace them, sometimes they become real words, real sentences — stories inside us all. So maybe “be true” means “find your story.”

You must admit that same story is much more complicated than you want to believe. Maybe people ask questions you’re too afraid to ask yourself because you’re too scared of the answers or the moments or the possibility of something so good turning to something you hate. So maybe, “being true” means admitting all of that, even if you can’t let yourself feel it just yet.

Maybe, realizing there are more stories in your head and your heart than you know what to do with is enough. Let that be okay.

Just knowing the power of words or heartbreak or even a favorite book is enough. Letting them change you can be enough. And when they’re not what you need, when you just need to say “who cares,” let those words wash over you — even when they might not be true and you need them to be. Believe in the way they make you feel, and luxuriate in the way they sound whispered from your own lips. Be true. Be true. Be you.

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