Notes from the Field: the Mechanics of Fake it Till You Make it

It’s a saying we’ve all heard.  Whether clothed in the language of religious or secular faith, every hungry community I’ve ever been a part of has believed that your thoughts play some role in shaping your reality.  I believe it as well to some degree, mostly because I have seen it in action beyond rational explanations.  My Walkabout year has already been filled with returns on investments I’ve made into uncovering, “What else?”  Like monkey bars I’m swinging, terrified and exhilarated, from one to the other.  What I realize however is that I don’t know the difference between fake it till you make it, and lying.  Maybe no one does.  There are just simply times I can not fake my way into something being true.

Most recently I was exhorted to fake it till you make it at my regular conscious movement class (I know, seems ironic).  The teacher subbing for the evening had instructed us at the start of the lesson to dance the next few songs as if we were in love with everybody in the room, and that everybody in the room was in love with us in return.  I think the purpose was to be able to base our actions and decisions in something other than approval seeking, but it’s hard to tell with excited newbie teachers sometimes.  What I can tell you is that my internal landscape said a big, “Hell no, fuck you very much.  Everyone in this room is most definitely NOT in love with me.”  The idea seemed fake and energetically overwhelming.  No amount of pretending was actually getting me there, and it felt icky to try so I stopped.  Only when I stopped trying to fake it did I find my way into some dances that were truly meaningful, and as of yet, really without explanation.

Fast forward to tonight, the full moon, and I had planned as usual to be out immersed in a creative ritual of my own making.  The idea had come to me simply and forcefully when talking to a friend at the end of September.  We were discussing relationships and the vulnerability of expressing your needs, wants, and desires to your significant other.  “Yes, but it’s also such a gift,” came tumbling out of my mouth, “to trust someone with your vision for your life.”  And there it was.  I have been able to release parts of my life that no longer serve me, even those that aren’t quite gone yet, but I have not yet made firm declarations of what I want and need.  I could write them out and decorate them like wrapping paper, wrap a box with them, and set it to float somewhere on Stevens Creek.  I envisioned lots of markers and potentially, glitter.

I sat in a garden at midnight, less than 36 hours later, and wrote out my list to present to my boyfriend, the Universe.  There were some specifics–I need a car, I want to work less than I did teaching and still be able to support myself.  There were some broad outlines–I want to share the stories of myself and others.  I then proceeded to do absolutely nothing with that list for the next three weeks, unless of course you count avoiding doing something, as something.  “I’ve just been busy,” I kept rationalizing.  And then last night I finally said it plain–you. are. scared. to get that public, that bold, that intentional.  I already have SO much skin in the game that I’m running out of bandaids some days, and monkey bar blisters hurt like hell if you don’t remember.  “What if you just do it anyways?” I asked myself plaintively.  “Hell no, fuck you very much.  No one is seeing that damn list but me.”

As usual, I’d love to speed the process up, whatever it is, but instead I still feel the call to be aware of this place; between old passings and new beginnings (guess it’s lucky I’m in Fall, isn’t it).  I’ve been in this place for about a year now, but clearly I have not explored all of it.  And although I groan inwardly at my own slowness, part of me is glad.  One of my major lessons in the last three years has been how rich and alive transitions are if you will let them take their own pace and stay to feel all of it.

I’m not ready to set out declaring yet, it would be a lie.  I expect that by the time I realize I feel “ready”, many of the declarations will have already happened.  Some have already been said, indirectly, under my breath, to friends and passing trees.  Some bubble through my writing, looking for voice that my conscious mind won’t yet give.  And this week a picture of myself when I was five started popping up in my mind’s eye, following me around.  Some days little me dances like a maniac to whatever music I’m listening to, tonight she encouraged me to smell the lemon zest before putting it in the faro salad.  I can’t say how yet, but I think she’s here for this season of old and new, fear and courage, and fake it till you make it, when it’s time.


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I am a former teacher, writer, dancer, aspiring Taiko drummer, and artist. I am trying to listen to the journey, no matter where it turns, and pump out a whole lot of magic while I do.

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