encouragement for fakers

This is an article from our most recent issue of Mars' Hill, TWU's student newspaper. The article is written by Caleb Nakasaki, one of my fellow Globies. I think his words are incredibly timely in this age of social media and obsession with appearing authentic. It's applicable to many conversations I've had with people recently, and Caleb knows how to get to the core. Because of this article, my roommate Sharon and I are spending a week pondering the question, What is my core? Read it, ponder, and be encouraged. Thanks for these words, Caleb!

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a natural adapter to situations. My personality and mannerisms may vary wildly based on the person, time, and context. My accent and posture will start to match up in one-on-one conversations; the relaxed accent I developed in Hawaii and my current Canadian accent are different from the one I had while living in Japan. Because of this, I  have been a lot of different things to a lot of different people: Grade-A student, skid, class clown, debater, disaster responder, techie, editor, camera man, handy man, martial arts instructor, Cub-Scout leader, sound technician, gamer, professional, retail worker, English teacher, etcetera. I am not what anyone would call stuck in a rut. But for a long time, I wasn’t really happy with being so adaptable.

It seemed like everything I did was fake, like I was lying to my subconscious mind. I used to think that I was a mass of water: having no form, water takes on the shape of the container it fills. Make no mistake, everything I did was fun and interesting, but I just didn’t like having no observable core personality.

Recently I have come to peace with it (or at least more peace than I have in the past), so I feel that I should share with my fellow fakers what I’ve been learning. I don’t really think of myself as water anymore. If anything, I consider myself more like a Magic 8 Ball. Let me explain:

  1. You do have a core person
It may not seem like it sometimes, but you do have a core person. There are things about you that won’t change under any circumstance. For instance, I will always love terrible movies, and will always try to be relaxed and flexible—these parts of me won’t change. Sometimes I may express them differently, but they still exist within me. The key mechanism of a Magic 8 Ball is a die suspended in liquid. If you shake the ball the die will jiggle and rise to the top exposing a new surface. It’s not a completely new die or completely new Magic 8 Ball, we just see a different facet of the same person.

  1. You influence others
You are not just an influencee, you are an influencer. Your actions have a dramatic effect on those around you, even if they are a reaction to somebody else. I remember the first time I realized this: in elementary school I hit a kid with a ball and made him cry. My direct actions caused someone harm. You are an active participant, not a passive observer. Like a Magic 8 Ball, the answer you reveal has an effect. Perhaps sometimes the reaction will be bemusement or a sensible chuckle, but in key moments you could make or break someone’s day.

  1. You are this way for a reason
And no, the reason is not “I’m dumb and I make bad decisions.” Like a Magic 8 Ball, you were designed for a purpose. In first Corinthians 9:19 and onward, Paul discusses this. He becomes Jewish to connect with Jews, he becomes religious to connect with the religious, and he becomes non-religious to connect with the non-religious. He says: “I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some.  I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.”

I’m not really sure what the purpose of the Magic 8 Ball (me) is in the future. I have things I want to do and places I want to go, but the here and now is more important. A Magic 8 Ball can’t anticipate future results—it can only react in the present. Right now my job is building community at Trinity Western University, so please come up and shake my hand—I might actually give an insightful reply.

If you feel like you’re faking it, I’m with you. You are not a copycat, and you are not replaceable. You have value, personality, and a purpose. Fake it ‘til you make it.


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