Own Your Messes and ALWAYS Tell The Truth
The other day I sent a note to my photographer for our shoot in April to say “zero photoshop is the only option aligned with my message.”
I’ve been feeling that way about my videos, too – I’d hired a professional video guy for my most recent shoots and he ended up bailing at the last minute so I’ve been doing it myself.
There are times when there’s much more truth and beauty in imperfection than all the efforts we make to “clean things up.” – Click to Tweet
The loving feedback I get from my community always reminds me that people don’t really care, it’s the the connection that matters most.
I learned this week that owning your messes and telling the truth is one of the best and easiest ways to connect.
The following is the story of the mess that inspired this post.
I’m driving down La Cienega Blvd in Beverly Hills on my way to meet with my Creative Director and I really want to sing loudly (for fun and to open up my 5th chakra and get my creative expression flowing).
The only accessory I forgot to upgrade when I got my iPhone 5 was the car hook up to play music so I was scanning the radio for a good song. Nothing.
I open up Spotify and scroll to Girl on Fire by Alicia Keys on my phone, press play, hold the phone to my ear and get fully immersed in belting that shit out as if Alicia Keys needed a stand in for her next show and I’m auditioning RIGHT NOW.
(note: I am an awful singer.)
As I’m singing and driving a cop pulls behind me and I get a little nervous realizing I am holding my phone to my ear, but no lights go on. Phew.
A few blocks later, the lights go on. He was just waiting for an opening to pull me over. Here we go.
Now is a good time to mention that I still have a New York State driver’s license and I was supposed to get a California one within 10 days of registering my car (10 months ago). I also don’t have proof of insurance with me. Also, my car is still full of the boxes from my official move out of Laguna Beach TWO weekends ago and there is a pile of forwarded mail taking up my passenger seat.
Basically I look like a total fucking disaster.
I feel a natural instinct to think of how I’m going to talk my way out of this, but just before the Cop #1 gets to my driver side window I decide not to. I made this mess. I’m going to own it and if I drive away with a few hundred dollars in tickets, that’s what I get.
Cop #1 asks me to roll down my passenger side window also so Cop #2 can listen in on the conversation. He tells me he pulled me over because I had my phone to my ear. I hand him my license and registration and start going through all the contents of my glove compartment and the huge pile of mail in my passenger seat hoping to find some proof of insurance.
As I’m doing this I explain that I wasn’t talking on the phone I was jamming out to a song, in case that makes a difference. It does not.
He gives me some shit for still having a NY license, make some comments about all the boxes in the back of my car. I tell him I’ve been holding onto my license because I don’t want to lose my identity as a New Yorker, which is true. He says something about the weather being way better here, also true.
We both realize I’m not going to find proof of insurance anywhere and he goes to his car to start processing what I’m sure will be no less than three tickets and hundreds of dollars in fines.
Cop #2 is super hot and nice, we chat a little about personal training, the song I was listening to when I got pulled over and I swear he must have been an Alicia Keys fan because he says, “My partner is usually pretty tough about this stuff, let me go talk to him.”
They both come back and Cop #1 says, “Well Elizabeth, I’m frustrated…” I’m thinking he means with me, but apparently the computer is really slow or something so he’s just going to give me a warning.
ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!
I thank them profusely, promised to get my act together and drove away with a deep intuitive feeling that nothing was wrong with their computer.
I’m not sure if they took pity on me because I was such a mess or they really like Alicia, too, but they had every reason to give me those tickets and they didn’t.
For the last two weeks that I’ve been driving around with those boxes still in my car I’ve been quietly judging myself a little bit for being messy.
Everyday I think “I should go to my storage unit today.” And feel like a bit of a slacker when I don’t.
I’m pretty sure because I just surrendered and had no intention of trying to flirt or talk my way out of the ticket, owned my messes, and told the truth, I drove away scott free.
And of course this story is just a small example of a mess, but the same principles apply to the bigger stuff in life – relationships, career, finances, etc.
When we make the choice to NOT sweep shit under the rug, make excuses, be defensive or even worse lie, we give people an opportunity to see us for who we are.
We “let the chips fall” as my friend Jill always says, and give ourselves the chance to trust that we can handle whatever that looks like.
Everyday in every moment we have these choices:
Own our messes or deny them.
Make excuses or tell the truth.
Be who we really are or pretend we’re someone or something else.
Life is easier (and often more entertaining) when we let people see our messes, stop trying to hide them and just tell the truth.
So what’s a mess you’ve been hiding or an opportunity you’ve been avoiding to tell the truth?