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when it comes to love: truth or dare

When I was younger, the game Truth or Dare terrified me.

It scared the ever loving crap out of me. Truth? You mean actual honesty at the age of 17? Thank you, no. The last thing I would have been cool with was telling a room full of my peers the person who I secretly wished to take me to prom or my most embarrassing moment.

Dare? Kiss every guy in the room? What? Streak? Now?

Now.

Now would be my most embarrassing moment.

I prided myself on being a bit of a bad ass when I was younger. I always tried to be tough, and I’m certain I did a half decent job of hiding my fear. Despite the layers of armor I wore, I was incredibly shy. Truth or Dare cracked my armor and I was not a fan of letting anyone in.

I can remember only a couple of times that stupid game reared its ugly head, usually at an infamous teenage house party. You recall those…guys, girls, a keg, possibly some weed and a flask floating around. (“Floating around” for me meant in my pocket, by the way.)

I didn’t think anything could make me more uncomfortable than Truth or Dare, until Five Minutes in the Closet happened. I know, I know. Some of you called it Seven Minutes in Heaven. Seven minutes was pushing it, and it was slightly was closer to hell.

I dreaded that closet. I wasn’t claustrophobic. Leatherface wasn’t hiding there. (I checked. Twice.) I had no skeletons at 15—possibly a pair of rad skeleton leggings, but I hadn’t created anything incriminating yet. My closet was filled with shoes, boxes of photographs and posters of last Tuesday’s rock star.

When you sit in that circle, watching a bottle spin is like the longest three seconds of ever. How many thoughts can race through your mind in three seconds? Apparently more than four. Who is it going to land on? God please not him…maybe him…no. What if it’s the lame guy and he says I have to take my shirt off? What if it’s the hot guy and he says I suck at kissing? Do I do anything? Do I lie and say I did? Do I lie and say I didn’t ? You get my point.

Shaping my teenage romantic life in a closet didn’t seem very Hollywood. It did, however, feel a bit like a John Hughes film. Potentially Stephen King. Definitely not Disney.

There wasn’t really anything to be scared of. As I said, I had no skeletons; I left those closets with my dignity intact and my bra facing the right way. Truth or Dare wasn’t ever that bad either. It was just a bunch of experiments in our parent’s coat closets.

Looking back I almost miss how simply playful it was.

Being an adult puts a completely different spin on it. Truth can be hard to get the gist of for some people, but it sure is worth walking through the fear. I find nothing scary about speaking my truth. To me, speaking my truth it what grants me dignity. It allows me to have self respect. It is essential for human growth. It is what keeps me sure of myself. It is invaluable.

Others run from the truth like their ass is on fire. Fear of being vulnerable? Letting someone see that you aren’t perfect? Honey, your faults are what make you perfect. The vulnerability of truth makes us human. It makes us real. Truth give us depth, and hopefully character.

Truth is the very thing that allows people to know who you actually are, and that takes more than five minutes in a closet.

Dares? Now they’re just challenges; challenging myself, or perhaps it’s challenging someone to a game of air hockey, or making a bet about whether or not they can sleep on a plane. Dares can also be incredibly sexy. Dare me to kiss you in an alley up against a cold brick wall? Don’t think I won’t. Dare me to hold still? Um…. OK.

Dare to be yourself.

Dares are taking chances. Some people grow up and long to take chances, but they never do. I take them over and over. Perhaps you’d call me stupid, because they don’t always work out. When a “chance” doesn’t go as planned, good or bad, I get to call it an experience. Does this mean I’m not terrified? No. Not even close. I’ve been knocked down, kicked sideways and hung up to dry. It doesn’t mean I’ll stop trying.

Does this mean there may be tears involved? Absofuckinglutely. I’ve cried enough tears for my best friend, my next door neighbor and anyone who has ever bought a self help book. I always dust off and see what the universe has next. It’s usually better than I could plan anyway.

Being a grown-up gets us scared for grown-up reasons, but I’m no longer scared of being kissed by my 8th grade crush, or anyone’s closet.

Speak your truth. Fall hard. Take a chance in love. Go on. I dare you. It’s worth everything.

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