I’m starting with this week off with a guest post from a woman who never ceases to amaze me. I met Natalia in the fall of 2012 at a dinner with several other top mom bloggers for that year. She ended up sitting next to me, and we did not stop talking to each other the whole evening. I felt as though I had known her forever, yet still had that excitement of meeting a significant person for the first time.

When she agreed to share about her guiding phrase for 2016, I knew she’d write something raw, something many of us can relate to. Her post, Radical Honesty, is one of my favourite things I’ve ever read from her. And I call her my Word Maven, so that says a lot.

Please take some time to connect with Natalia on Instagram where she describes herself perfectly as Adventurer, Yogi, Wild Woman, Girl Boss and Tribal Queen.

My guiding phrase for 2016 is: radical honesty, which for me, means, I get to choose to be myself—a decision I had always avoided. Although it was out of fear, disguised as good intentions, I used to lie compulsively. I’m pretty sure my filipino genes were the only thing that saved me from Pinocchio nose.

Growing up, I was always the “good kid” at home; the teacher’s pet in school; the one who was friends with everyone—from the cool kids to the outsiders.

I had perfected the art of being lovable. I followed my formula to a tee and it worked every time.

There wasn’t much to it.

Smile a lot. Tell them what they want to hear. Do what is expected of you. And don’t ever, EVER, ruffle any feathers.

That’s it. That’s all I had to do. And they all loved “me”.

I thought I was winning at life.

I remember having many conversations with the more honest friends and siblings of mine who were often confronted or rejected—what I considered to be a death sentence—for telling the truth.

Why would anyone put themselves through that? Just lie about it. If you’re not physically hurting anyone, what’s the big deal? You’re saving everyone from a lot of unnecessary pain. At the least, you steer clear from awkward moments—which I believed, should be avoided at all costs.

Sure I felt slight pangs of guilt and shame from time to time, but hey, the discomfort wasn’t unbearable.

…Until, life taught me that the refusal of my truth would come back to haunt me. Not because Karma’s a bitch. Because the root of the issue, was some serious lack of self love.

For four years, I was pulling all-nighters “studying hard for university” when I was actually out partying with pimps and con artists. Yeah…ask me about that some other time.

I chose partners who cheated on me so many times that I couldn’t meet a new female in my city without wondering if he had slept with her.

My jaw muscles were so tight from biting down to hold my truth in, that many days, I couldn’t open my mouth more than a few millimetres.

I suffered a LOT before I let life break through my armour. That’s when it hit me: everybody loved “me”— but I didn’t love myself.

My whole life I had been so worried about my truth making me unworthy of love from others. What I didn’t realize was, that every truth I chose not to express, was reinforcing the biggest lie of all time: that love comes from somewhere outside of me.

I finally got it on one unsuspecting sunny day in June of 2015. I experienced freedom. It’s hard to put into words. Every cell in my body was vibrating with one message: I AM love. I have nothing to protect, nothing to lose and nothing to hide.

Ironically, in that moment, I felt so alone. But it was so #*@$!ing beautiful.

So if it takes being alone, with just me and my truth, I’m definitely down with that. I’d rather have you hate me for my truth than love “me” for my lies.

So now, 2016 is for training—so that I rewire my brain to express truth with every chance I get, without a moment’s hesitation. So far, I’ve noticed that with every radically truthful expression, I become more and more brutally beautifully honest.

Here’s to all the stunningly awkward moments in 2016 and onward.

I’d love your support. Go ahead. Ask me the most uncomfortable question you can come up with about anything: me, you, sex, drugs, religion…etc.  I promise to be radically honest.

natalia sanyal, the uncommoners club, nat nanton, ami sanyal

taslim jaffer, let me out creative