Webster defines “make believe” as the action of pretending or imagining; typically that things are better than they really are.
I don’t know a person who doesn’t step in and out of an imaginary place just as I am quite certain we all prefer to do this internally. Make believing things are better than they actually are is always safer when we create veils around our hearts. It’s the illusion of pretending that keeps us protected, isn’t it? Whether we denounce the truth of our imperfections or not, isn’t it ultimately a way to shield ourselves through the mask of make believing things aren’t really as they appear?
My son and daughter have perfected the intended art of make believe. There is a container filled with costumes that they love to ravage through and choose which characters they want to play for any particular day. Today, it was good ‘ol Spider-man and Wolverine. It was only 7 a.m. in the morning, but there was my invitation for the day. Right next to the cup of coffee that awaited me and the smeared mascara dried up from the night before.
I watched them.
There they were. Chasing one another, jumping off from one couch cushion to the next and breaking every morning house rule there was to relish in the joy of playing someone else. There were moments when I found my exhaustion replaced by a silent grin and chuckle. They do it so well, I thought. The difference is that they do it innocently without knowing the expense they could pay as they become adults. I relish in this precious moment when they’re safely permitted to pretend. Right now, I am reassured that their imagination isn’t one wrought in pain, suffering or their fear of being seen as they are. In these moments, there is nothing but joy, laughter and yes, noise (lots of it).
I also had periods of intended silence while they played. For adults, make believe is a place of retreat and a method by which we choose to pretend that what really lies beneath the costume we all wear isn’t as it appears. For what lies beneath may not be a place we want to live or show to others. I have come to find that many people I have had the pleasure of meeting and working beside through the years make believe parts of themselves for one of two reasons. It’s either a necessary means to a fearful end or the belief that who they really are isn’t good enough.
As for me, the kids offered an invitation to see how we can have it both ways. It doesn’t have to be either/or. We can show up as we are when we’re strong enough and that it’s okay to show up as you’re capable of showing up. Today, my kids chose to be Spider-man and Wolverine and I honored their request to wear their costumes as we ran errands. I may not have had the courage to go out with my smeared mascara from the night before, but their invitation of receiving joy is what made me think twice about whether or not it would be appropriate to do my errands as Superwoman.
To the make believe in all of us and remembering there are spaces where showing up as yourself is enough.
In love & truth,