How to Fake Your Own Death

I couldn’t breathe.

I felt my body being pulled out of the water and onto a backboard. I heard the Velcro of the neck brace pull apart just before someone lifted my head and stabilized my neck.

My eyes squeezed shut.

Sounds of whistles blowing and worried voices filled the air. I tried not to move.

“Has anyone called for an ambulance?” I heard one lifeguard shout to another. “Yeah, they’re on their way,” the response.

Stay still, just a little longer. You can do this.

“Okay, everyone calm down this is just a drill. Carrie, you may open your eyes now,” the Programs Manager announced to the crowd that formed around me. “Everything is fine. She’s not hurt.”

I faked it. The whole thing.

In a swimming pool full of high schoolers at summer camp, I jumped off the trapeze and didn’t come up when I hit the water. I did the dead man’s float until someone came in after me. The Programs Manager and I schemed the whole thing as a drill to test the lifeguards.

A lie, a trick, a sham. A “drill.”

Recently, my roommate said something I think rings true with many of us: “I am fine to talk about the stuff in my past that I’ve overcome, it’s the stuff of today I don’t always want to open up about.”

The stuff that we’re “over” is easier to talk to people about, it’s not a part of us anymore and we’ve improved and we’re great now. Talking about the stuff of today means admitting we are not perfect.

The truth is most of us are just faking our own deaths.

Death to envy, bitterness, insecurities, fears, addictions. We trick people into believing the old mess is dead. Done. Gone forever.

I am really good at faking my own death. I pretend to not care when I am hurting, to be independent when I am lonely, to say, “It’s fine,” when it absolutely is not fine. The old me used to care or feel this way, but not anymore, not Carrie 2.0, she has moved on from all of that.


I still hurt. I still feel lonely sometimes. I still get jealous when she gets everything handed to her on a silver platter, while I have nothing to show for my work. I am still prideful, performance-driven, and selfish most days, but I will talk about these issues like they are a thing of the past. Pat me on the back, I’ve defeated resentment! (Not!)

Now that I’ve found a safe place and my blocks are scattered across the floor, I think I am done faking it, the death of my own mess. Gone are the days of pretending I have it all together and my only faults are from the past. I am not admitting defeat — I am admitting I need help, I am not perfect and never will be.

And I am thankful to say I am surrounded by people who love me enough to to keep me from covering up my flaws and instead work toward stepping into actual greatness each day; people who challenge me — not to be perfect — just more like Jesus.

No faking.

To die will be an awfully big adventure. -James M. Barrie

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91 thoughts on “How to Fake Your Own Death

  1. Hi, great post. Recognising your imperfections can be so confronting. I know growing up my family pushed me to strive for perfection in everything, to never settle for second best. Conditioned that way, our pride hurts the most when we stand in front of the mirror and see our flaws. I found writing about it in a journal to help so much in the coping process. It allows you to express thoughts that you wouldn’t even tell to your closest friends. At the end of the day we are all human beings, trying to find our place and make our way in this world.

    I wish you the best on your journey and look forward to following it. Love the Neverland reference :)

  2. Did you get freshly pressed or something? If you did… THATS AWESOME and i can tell why. If not, they should. This is so close to some of the thoughts and issues i was just writing and thinking about recently i almost re-blogged you but i did not want to take something so personal to you just to have it re-blogged on some random site. Maybe i will regardless so i dont have to write a post so similar. I will wait until you tell me what you would feel comfortable with. It is really a great post. Thanks for sharing!! I think i may see the world in a similar way as you….. cheers!

  3. Pingback: How to Fake Your Own Death « Write to Clear Your Head

  4. This post is great. It’s just ok to tell the truth that we are not okay. If people care about us, they’ll help us go through it, or at least won’t make it any worse. If they don’t, they won’t matter.
    I believe that to make a better civilization, we should start to encourage people to be honest, to be true.

  5. Wow!! That was beautiful! Death is a topic I write a lot about being the only care giver for my father who is approaching his. It also seems to be the next big event in my own life at this stage of the game. Again, beautifully written.

  6. So perfectly, awfully true. Hard to admit, isn’t it? Lack of perfection, at least to me, often means failure – until I realized that I don’t have to perfect, only to follow the Perfect One. Thanks for the brilliant reminder! :-)

  7. Great Post! I too have been realizing a lot of these things. The great thing about writing is that it allows you to park your thoughts, to put them somewhere and free up real estate in the mind. I was thinking the other day;
    “what if the world really WAS going to end on Dec 21/2012?”
    After I was done thinking of all the cool stuff like robbing a bank and buying an island, I came back to reality and thought about all the people I would want to thank, give recognition to, or tell to kiss my ass.

    Then I thought why wait until the end of the world! So every day I have been picking one thing to discuss, on the way to the end of the world. 25 days left! Glad to see your blog get on the freshly pressed!

  8. It’s an incredibly good feeling to read someone who addresses exactly what you are going through. When I’m tempted to act like I have it all together or to freak out if I think people can tell that I don’t, I’m going to tell myself, “Stop faking your own death!”

  9. What you said about talking about the now is harder than talking about the then sincerely resonates with me. I had a “aha!” moment hearing it from you because I didn’t know why then was so much easier for me than now. Excellent piece. I’m thrilled they showcased it, congratulations!

  10. It’s an amazing feeling to see someone is talking about exactly what I am going through. It’s ok to tell the truth that we are not okay. If people care about us then they will help us and if they don’t then they shouldn’t matter to us. I am definitely going to re-blog this!

    Great post

  11. This rings very true for me—especially the pretending everything is ok part. I love how you start with one image and use it to make your real point. Thanks!

  12. Keeping so much in really hurts. It hurts in the long term and the short term. I am trying to let go of so many things to be able to get on with my life in a good way. For me. And I only realize now that there are things I need to say out loud. Thank you for that post. :)

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  14. This is exactly what I’m going through. I try and act like everything is fine and I’m not hurting, but there are still those, who because of God know that I’m still hurting and are there to help me.
    I never thought of looking at it this way.

  15. Thanks for sharing this lovely light and lighting other torches. I pray that you go forth in boldness in this next step!

  16. Pingback: How Gratitude Turns Everything Into Enough | carrie hokanson

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