Choosing the Red Pill (Why Authenticity Matters)


“The Matrix” (Scene: Red/Blue Pill)

“The Matrix” poses an interesting dilemma in the red/blue pill choice: Choose a fabricated reality that seems comfortable and safe, or choose to exit from the induced state and into true reality, which is dark and stark and full of extremely uncomfortable challenges.

When I first watched the movie, I thought, I don’t know if I could handle the truth.  If the dream feels completely real, what is wrong with staying in that world?  Isn’t achieving the feeling of happiness and security what it all comes down to anyways?

That was over a decade ago, and in that time, I’ve learned quite a bit about the virtues of being true to oneself and living a life honoring that truth.

Being transparent was never difficult for me, but I had an unfair advantage.  I grew up in a very sheltered home, and was fortunate to have had a loving upbringing where my brothers and I were well provided for and praised lavishly.  I didn’t have today’s cable TV, the internet, or even a social life to confuse my sense of self-worth.  All I knew how to do was be myself, to think and act naturally, comfortably, confidently and without apologies.

The problem was, after my family split apart following my brother’s death, and I had to wander into the great, wide world beyond Ronson Drive, I would learn that when people were nice, they didn’t always mean it, and my naivete and openness were either targeted by the predators of the world, or shunned by the unauthentic.

It took me a good decade of all kinds of heartaches from people I thought were friends, from “outlaws” I thought were family, and even from family that I thought were on my side.  I was forced to take the red pill, a sublingual that slowly but intensely absorbed into my system, and I saw all kinds of ugly.

The bad part was that the ugliness started to make me doubt myself.  Had I been doing it wrong all this time?  Why couldn’t I care to spackle myself up to fit in?  I was too skinny, too smiley, too energetic, too friendly; I spoke too freely about my past, too matter-of-factly about my faults, too enthusiastically about helping.  I couldn’t plan ahead or pack my schedule or join the PTA or keep my house clean or cook well.  I didn’t dress up, wear makeup, get my hair or nails did, care about shoes.  What the eff was wrong with me?

Turns out, nothing, except for my lack of understanding at the time that 1) I was not with the right company, and therefore 2) my gifts and strengths were not being honored, not even by myself.

I eventually learned how flat a perspective people’s judgments could be.  Some people would tell me that I was too sensitive; turns out, these people had upbringings where sharing, showing, or talking about feelings were discouraged.  Others have said things like, “You’re pretty. You should dress up more.”  What?!  This is as logical as telling someone that they’re ugly, so they should just quit trying.

But I bought into the propaganda, and after my third child, I found myself a bit delighted that, for the first time, I could not lose the extra 15 lbs.  I was not heavyset by any means, yet it was noticeable extra weight on me, and people would encourage it, practically high-fiving me on it, even though it made my knees ache and had me short of breath going up a few steps; the extra few pounds on me was not my natural and healthy weight.  But I finally felt accepted, maybe even loved.  So this was what peer pressure felt like.  And this unhealthy glee made me realize that I wanted to fit in, even against my own well-being.  A bit of self-loathing started creeping in at this point.

I started hating my nature of feeling so much, thinking so much, caring so damn much about people, principles, the “unbling.”  I did not fit in – I never quite did.  I felt like “Powder”: I saw things with such vividness and beauty and awe, and it took me a while to learn that many didn’t understand what I had inside, and distrusted, disliked, and in turn, disrespected me for it.  Real life was harsh and such a contrast to my authentic self, where people were as kind as they said and acted to my face, and it was particularly difficult to emotionally adjust to this clarified reality once the red pill took over, and there was no turning back.

I was so angry at the constant meanness and deceit that I started fantasizing about the “good ol’ days,” when I was blissfully ignorant and soft.  Why didn’t I take the blue pill, like all the rest?  They seemed unbothered by their own layers of fakery, sparkling in the New Cool of the day: piety, yoga spirituality, green and organics, “perfect” parenting, the feigning good will to mankind through positive quotes (some stolen and posted as if their own) on Facebook, and other audience-based indicators of their “integrity.”   How the frick could one tell who was authentic anymore?

One might argue that it doesn’t really matter, like Angelina Jolie’s potentially adopting of a myriad of kids to bury her unapologetic home-wrecker reputation – who cares – socially disadvantaged children around the world get a posh new life, and that’s all that matters, right?

Yes, and no.  Yes, these people who buy organics and boast positive quotes as a means to be praised, but then turn around and treat people with saccharin smiles and insincere words do help the small farmers and evoke chipper nods in the process, but in not confronting the truth and embracing who they want to be, not just who they want people to see, they limit the circumference of any positive rippling effect.  Not only that, but this insincerity waters down the potential potency and beauty of this new movement towards things worthy of adopting and universalizing.

When I got over my own shock and the gamut of emotions that came with such a rude awakening, I thought back to “The Matrix.”  In it, only a few people had come out into the real world.  There was so much to be done, and only a handful were in the wakened state that was required to make a change.  Imagine if everyone awoke out of the Matrix and worked together.

Imagine, now, if we all took the red pill of authenticity; even if the reality was ugly – so what?  Being authentic doesn’t make the reality uglier; it gives us, engineers of our lives, an accurate blueprint to begin the difficult, but worthy, task of healing, changing, building up.  And it is in this place of authenticity, of honesty and accuracy, where everything we do becomes tangible, and where our greatest, brightest dreams become truth.

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12 Responses to Choosing the Red Pill (Why Authenticity Matters)

  1. Susi Masarweh October 17, 2013 at 3:46 pm #

    WOW. Yazminh. WOW.

    In many respects, we are the same soul occupying two different bodies.

    Very authentic, well written and painfully true words.

    Sometimes, I want to stop writing because I feel as you have written. But at the same time, I continue writing because I did choose the red pill.

    Thank you for bringing your voice to the blogosphere.

    xoxo ~susi

    • Yazminh AB October 17, 2013 at 4:10 pm #

      Thank you, Susi, for your kind words and encouragement! I hope to help others who struggle with the issues I have struggled with, good people whose intuitive inner voices have been drowned out by relentless outside noise.

      Don’t stop writing, my friend – you are only just beginning! 🙂


  2. Little Cup on the Prairie October 18, 2013 at 1:59 pm #

    This resonates with me completely. I remember being baffled and blindsided at a food service job when a customer grumped at me to “cut out the fake happy smile”. I wasn’t doing anything but being my usual cheerful self. That small comment led me to second-guess my own emotional states — yes, I had naivete that needed to be expanded and enhanced but it wasn’t MY fault that someone else saw me as something I’m not.

    It’s none of my business what other people think of me.

  3. Yazminh AB October 18, 2013 at 9:44 pm #

    I totally can relate to your experience, Kim, except I had this treatment from my “outlaws.” It’s unnerving when you first experience it – such an unexpected response to cheerfulness and kindness. Sad, isn’t it? For THEM, for what a dismal world they must live in to think so much ugliness even in the presence of goodness!

    And it may be none of your business what others may think of you, but it’s not in their place to judge you. Too bad we can’t discuss this with them over a nice cup of coffee. 😉

  4. Zsolt Babocsai November 14, 2013 at 11:55 am #

    Yazminh, I think this philosophy of authenticity you represent here is very much need in todays world. Things would be so much better if we ere honest, at least with ourselves to start with. Have you seen the movie The Invention of Lying? It’s a silly comedy, but makes you think nevertheless…

    • Yazminh AB November 14, 2013 at 12:34 pm #

      Hi Zsolt!

      Thank you for your comment! Yes, when I imagine a world where people are allowed to be completely open and free, I see a world of peace and one where people are not hurting themselves or closing themselves in, burying their gifts out of fear of judgment.

      I haven’t seen “The Invention of Lying,” but I will look it up – thanks for the rec! 🙂

  5. Angelia March 13, 2014 at 6:37 pm #

    Thank you for this writing. I look for such clarity about myself to come to me.

    • Yazminh AB March 13, 2014 at 7:24 pm #

      You’re very welcome, Angelia. Evaluate why you do the things that you do – what motivates you? If the reasons are external, you may need to consider an adjustment to live a life that is more aligned with the best part of yourself, the part that is confident, joyful, and free.



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