It’s Peanut‘s birthday today. He’s turning 28 (I think, unless I’m wrong because he seems older than he really is. In my opinion, he’s very wise for his age). Earlier today, I sent him an e-card with a bunch of penguins farting to the chords of the Happy Birthday song as that’s the best that I can do, while he is in San Francisco and I am in Vancouver.
Why is it significant?
There’s nothing tremendously significant with the e-card. In fact, I wish it was a little bit more significant but Peanut does not like to celebrate his birthday. He’s…reserved and modest like that. Sometimes, I wish he’s a bit more attention-seeking. But, I guess not being so is one of his virtues.
What’s significant is the unique perspective that Peanut has bestowed upon me on authentic relationships. I do not mean just romantic relationships…. but friendships, family and how all that relates to Farts and Giggles (thus, the card with the farting penguins).
I met Peanut early this year and amazingly, he’s become a valued confidant as I transitioned throughout various thought processes, shifting priorities, and goals in my life journey. Lately, during one of the conversations that usually take on a life of its own (a.k.a. hours of conversation and debates that take on a random trajectory, always landing on the slippery slope of indecision because we’re both stubborn and can never agree with the other person), we wandered on to the topic of friendship.
He proposed that to reach the utmost authenticity in a relationship, people should be able to relax and let loose a fart without a care for how others would think or judge them. I proposed that farts are not always required, but people should at least be able to laugh, giggle and be silly in authentic friendships. He countered by saying that showing the positives are simply not enough.
While I don’t agree with Peanut’s stance on farts completely, I do agree that authentic relationships are formed when we can get to a point where we can let loose and be ourselves without a care about how the other person will judge us or assume they will see us as any less.
Using letting one rip as an example, because it definitely pushes the boundaries of what’s comfortable in a socially acceptable setting for a lot of people…we allow it to happen in front of family. Not cause’ we purposely do so, but because we let our guard down and it happens naturally. We know our family has seen our worst and most embarrassing acts again and again… they’ve seen us naked, bathed us, changed our diapers, and wiped our snot and we know they still love us.
We know they can tolerate our shit.
Then there’s people like my Cousin N who does it all the time in front of his girlfriend and will let out a fart on his unsuspecting victims (like me and some other friends) maybe as an act of endearment, but who knows. Some people are just much more secure and confident that others will still love / like them regardless of how they choose to present themselves.
The lesson here, I think, isn’t to fart in front of all the people we want to seal the deal with. It’s to let loose, and learn to be comfortable being ourselves. Find out what makes us afraid to let our guard down, and remember what we think will happen are our assumptions. For me, I was afraid that people will stop loving me once they see the real me. I’m learning to trust others to accept me for me, my feelings and my flaws. I want to teach others to laugh with me when I make mistakes.
I know it doesn’t happen immediately, but it does begin with the most authentic me.
It does take withstanding the test of time and a whole lot of trust to get to that point when we can be comfortable enough to go to them in a messy situation and it’ll be fine. Sometimes, it means taking a small risk, and showing things we aren’t quite comfortable sharing bit by bit. Not everyone will want to cross that ocean with us and it’s true that not everyone will be accepting, but that’s okay. The authentic relationships that come out of our attempts can be rewarding:
It can be as amazing as walking around our apartment with only our underwear on when no one is around, that kind of comfort.
I definitely want to give forming more authentic relationships a shot because striving to be a happier self means being myself without holding back around people who accept me in any way, shape or form. Maybe, I’ll leave home barefaced next time I meet a friend. Maybe, I’ll chime in the next conversation though I’m afraid of embarrassing myself. Maybe, I’ll refrain less from saying my true feelings and certain opinions because I don’t want to upset anyone.
Peanut says, real friends / relationships should know about our real feelings so they can understand how to navigate our sensitivities and boundaries. They want us to be happy.
All the friends who are always there for me now, are those who has seen me at my worst. They’ve seen me knocked out from a long hard night of drinking and carried me home and even tucked me in. They’ve heard me snore my loudest snores when I’m passed out from being too tired. They’ve seen me ugly cry when I’ve been through all my most painful breakups. They’ve given me interventions. They weren’t afraid to say that I’m being too selfish or too annoying, and even then, they’d show up for me.
They’re the ones who are still one phone call away if I need them.
Sometimes, we do need to be butt naked, scars and all, to see where our authentic relationships lie and to maintain them so that everyone is happy.
So, as Peanut’s birthday present, I’m going to have to admit that he’s right this one time:
For all farts and giggles, while it’s great to maintain that polite, perfectly made up, always positive image, we just gotta let one rip sometimes.
What do you think? What stops you from being able to show the most authentic you, so you can form the most authentic relationships?