My #BeReal guest today is Jeff Welch.
One of the things I love about #BeReal is that I don’t censor anyone. I love the unique voices. Of course we are looking for the acceptance of positive and real behavior so I am selective about who I invite to write here. That is to say I hope none of my guests are ax murderers or worse because let’s face it they are real too.
If profanity bothers you I would like to ask you to read this piece anyway. Look deeper because there is a real person inside these words and he has some great things to say.
It’s become a bit of a buzz term these days. I’m sure you can’t scroll through any social media for very long at all without seeing how “real” your friends think they are. There are hundreds of different definitions for what “Being real” means. But what in the actual hell does being real really look like? More importantly, what would it FEEL like?
To be honest, from what I’ve gathered from most of the uses of the term I’ve seen, it really doesn’t seem to mean much more than having a zero fucks given, go to hell if you don’t like me, don’t judge me, attitude. Is that really all it means to be real, or is that just what our immature culture has reduced it to? Don’t get me wrong. I’m all about giving zero fucks, and yes, if you don’t like me, then I suppose you can go to hell, AND I put very little stock in other people’s judgments of me, but does that mean I’m REAL?
Somehow, my gut tells me there is more to it than that. When I look around at this culture full of bad bitches that give zero fucks, I’m not struck by a sense of realness, I’m usually just struck by the fact that these people seem really fucking…unhappy. Discontented. Unsatisfied. And I refuse to believe that is what being real is all about.
Realness is HONESTY.
I’m not talking about the kind of in your face, fuck you AND your mom, tell it like it is “honesty” that passes as some sort of faux virtue in our diluted, self indulgent times. That’s not being real. That’s just being a douche fuck asshole and pretending it means something that it doesn’t. Oh, I get it. Don’t think I don’t understand why so many of us are like that. I know all about the defense mechanisms we wrap ourselves in to make it through the day. Being an abrasive asshole is generally my go to strategy. It works! It keeps me safe, or at least it feels like it does.
But that’s not what being real is, and that’s why it will never lead to any thing that even closely resembles happiness, or contentment. It almost always just leads to feelings of isolation and loneliness. Because, in our fearful rush to protect ourselves, we end up alienating and pushing away everyone around us. Then, in a misguided attempt to protect our fragile psyche, we decide we must just be too fucking real for everyone else around us.
Where the fuck did we go wrong?! We were honest! We told everyone all about themselves, and we were probably right about our assessments. WE WERE HONEST!
No pumpkin, you weren’t honest. Not even for a second. Truthful perhaps, but that’s not what I mean when I say “honesty”. Honesty begins to happen when you turn that bad ass attitude inward. Stop judging everyone around you, while crying constantly about how terribly judgmental EVERYONE ELSE is, and start judging yourself…
Well fuck. This shit doesn’t feel very fucking good at all. We are quite comfortable judging the intentions and actions of others, and we can usually even tell them all about why they are the way they are. Every one of us fancies ourselves an expert on “reading people”. But when we have to turn that light of psychological knowledge (we’ve probably learned mostly from memes and Oprah) around and shine it into our own dark and dirty places… that shit can get uncomfortable really fucking fast. But I really feel like that’s where you’ll learn what you really are.
Many of us have have gotten by never once performing this sort of excruciating and honest self-examination. Still others may have tried it and quickly said “Fuck that shit!”. We are, after all, a society that tends to have an intense aversion to being judged, and even if we are the ones doing that judging, it is a feeling that we are not accustomed to being comfortable with at all.
But this is where that realness we all pretend to possess really hides isn’t it? Deep down inside. In the closets and dark corners of our own fucked up being. There you are. The really real you. Just dying to be discovered.
Now, when you do this, I think you might find 2 kinds of things inside yourself. The first, and possibly most uncomfortable is going to be some shit that you’ve got in there… habits and attitudes… that you’re going to have to be honest about and admit that you don’t really want to be a part of who you are. That’s perfectly fine, and healthy as fuck. Being “real” doesn’t mean that you look at yourself and accept everything you find there. Right?
Most of us have accumulated some shit. Maybe we’ve accepted this shit as part of who we are. But if we examine it honestly, it’s not at all who the real us wants to be. Identifying those things, and working to eliminate them, is just about the most real shit a person can do. I think people have gotten the impression somewhere along the line that being real means that we do not allow anyone else to question us (which is great, for the most part) AND we sure as shit aren’t going to question ourselves either. That’s not being real motherfucker. That’s being lazy.
The other thing you might discover about yourself are those traits that, in your heart of hearts, you really wish were a part of who you are. But for some reason (almost always because of the opinions of others) you haven’t allowed them to be. If you are holding back. If you are suppressing what you know is your true-self, because maybe your mommy and daddy, or your friends and co-workers, or, the worst culprit of all, a lover, might not understand or accept it, then you can post a thousand memes a day about how real you are but it will never make you real in my opinion.
I think in order to be real you have to be you. All of you. No holding back. No more hiding. Not from yourself and not from anyone else.
I’ve babbled on for far too long about this. As you can probably tell, I’m used to writing 4 line poems that don’t necessarily have to make any sense to anyone but me. So let me close with this.
What do I think it FEELS like to be REAL?
It feels like you can fucking breathe for the first time in your life! It feels like you can lay down and sleep at night without questioning every goddamn interaction you had throughout the day! It feels like you can love yourself, and just maybe, someone else can too.
If you love yourself and find someone that loves THAT you then you will know they love the REAL you. Because you never hid one single part of who you really were from them. Is it a painful process? Well, yeah. Most of the time it is. Is it worth it? I promise you it is. Now get out there and figure out how to be that real motherfucker you’ve been trying to convince yourself, and the rest of us, that you are.
J. Warren Welch is a husband and father of 3 daughters and 2 step daughters who works as a manager in an automotive factory. When he has time, he enjoys doing squats with way too much weight for his small frame, and writing. He writes his thoughts on love, religion, politics, parenting and his own past experiences and insists on calling it “poetry”. You can read his work on Instagram at