I’ve tried to hide the truth about myself – by pretending just the opposite – for most of my life because it’s embarrassing.

I care more than you can possibly imagine about impressing you – and by you, I mean everyone I’ve encountered in my entire life. Your admiration and approval are my life’s blood. This might be understandable in a child but I’m – well, let’s just say I’m older than that – and if anything I’m needier than I was in Jr. High, thanks to Facebook’s ability to measure who likes you (or doesn’t)  in real time. It’s like offering free limitless heroin to a junkie.

I started thinking about this because a few days ago I posted a picture that garnered (for me) an unprecedented and intoxicating number of likes (50). Thanks to anyone who took the time to comment. I have a small confession about the picture, too. I’ll repost it for those who didn’t see it. (God forbid someone miss it.) .IMG953316


Several people commented on how happy I look. In reality, fifteen minutes before the shutter clicked, when we said grace, I had a mini-meltdown. Until this year, my father delivered the Thanksgiving prayer and it felt unbearable he’d never do it again. I broke down and barely recovered in time to fake a toothy grin for my sister Janet’s camera.

I’m not complaining about my life; I know I’ve been blessed and I’m grateful, but – okay, the but suggests I’m complaining – 2015 has been a brutal year. I know I’m not the only one struggling with grief and trying not to show it. My point – and what I need to remember – is that other people struggle with grief as deep as my own and they mask it, like I do, behind self-protective phony smiles. I can’t know what’s really going on with anybody else and shouldn’t presume to judge.

That said, I’m hoping for your favorable judgment. Like everybody else (I’m assuming), I usually only post photos I consider flattering – but in the interest of full disclosure, here’s a shot I’d usually delete.


Truth be told, right now I’m hoping the above goofy picture coupled with my confession will endear me to you even more so keep those likes coming and ask your friends to like me too, all right? (Joke.) (But love me. Seriously.)