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I’m Fake and Basic, and It’s Time to Get Real

I’m Fake and Basic, and It’s Time to Get Real

“Honesty fuels every relationship worth keeping, worth saving. And it’s the one quality we can’t arrive at on our own. We can’t decide to be honest.”

– Erika Napoletano

With every new environment I enter, I go through what I’ve come to think of as the Fuck-It curve.

Mimi Nadia Chenyao | Fake and BasicThis curve represents how much BS I’m willing to take from people in said new environment. My tolerance is pretty high at first. For example, if I were at a new school and someone made a comment that I disagreed with, I would politely brush them off because hey, I was new, and I didn’t want to rock the boat quite yet.

Over time, that tolerance would slowly melt away until I reached the critical point where I’d crack, say “fuck it”, and stop pretending to be “nice”. I’d be loud and outspoken about things that excited me and things I couldn’t stand. I’d confront people and keep them accountable for their actions. I’d cause scenes in public if I had to.

I’ve been to ten schools in all from Pre-K to college, and this has happened with every single school I’ve gone to. The result? I would end up losing a lot of “friends”, but those were people who weren’t really my friends. The ones who stuck with me are the ones I’m still in contact with today.

After I went to college and became what some would consider a “young adult”, I started to hold myself back for the sake of “professionalism.” Professionals, I thought, don’t curse or speak about their opinions publicly or appear to be anything less than polished and perfect. If I were to be successful in the “real world” [1], I would have to do it at the expense of being myself.

So I raised my bullshit tolerance. I smiled politely when people undervalued my work or made cutting comments about my looks and intelligence. I acquiesced when I was told that my beliefs were wrong. In short, I was fake with a capital F. Every time I thought about saying “fuck it”, a single thought held me back: but if I did that, it would impact my future in a negative way.

But if I wrote about my personal life on my blog, my future employer would think it was inappropriate.

But if I called my fellow member out in <volunteer organization>, I’d get kicked out.

But if I told that person I had feelings for them, they’d never want to talk to me again and I would ruin what we had. [2]

I chose to be fake and “likeable” rather than opinionated and “polarizing” at the expense of my current happiness, instead of digging deeper and realizing something more important — external shit doesn’t matter. It’s all about whether or not you feel fulfilled on the inside.

I should have been saying:

But I worked for that employer, I would be subjecting myself to an environment where I had to sacrifice myself in order to get work done. Therefore, if my future employer thinks that what I write on my blog is inappropriate, I am better off working somewhere else.

But if I was going to be kicked out of <volunteer organization> as a result of defending something I believe in,  I would be freely giving my time to a group that didn’t align with my values. Therefore, I am better off volunteering somewhere else.

But if that person responded to my feelings by never talking to me again, then they don’t really care about me as a person. Therefore, I am better off not having any relationship with them at all.

My life is dependent on a strong and healthy sense of self

Mimi Nadia Chenyao | Fake and Basic

There are two things that I live for: making meaningful connections with others and doing great work. If I inhibit myself by refusing to say “fuck it”, I will not make meaningful connections, nor will I do truly great work.

Obviously, people can sniff out insincerity and nobody wants to hang out with someone who’s a self-manufactured piece of shit. Less obviously, mental, spiritual, and emotional health lead to better work being done. By holding myself back, I’m cheating myself out of the two things I value the most. I can’t be less than 100% of my true self and expect to produce 100% great work.

Thus, I have reached my fuck-it point, and here I am saying it publicly so you all can hold me to it when I inevitably have my moments of doubt.

How Fake and Basic ties in to all of this

Asian Barbie was an iconic name, but Fake and Basic is even better because a) Mattel won’t sue my ass once they become aware that I exist, and b) I can’t just be like “Fake and Basic? That’s just my fashion blog! Lol!” and write bland, nicey-nice stuff when I feel like I have to tone myself down. I know myself well enough to know that this will happen sometimes, and I’m not going to let myself hide.

Ultimately, I want to make more friends and start conversations with this blog. In my early years of college, when asked about what I wanted to do in the future, I’d often respond that I’d want to host weekly salons where I’d serve midnight mimosas (it’s a strange habit I picked up) and open my home to people who loved to discuss ideas. It took me a while before I realized that I could do this, right now, and it could be daily, not weekly. I’m saving a lot of money on champagne and orange juice!

I’m not here to find “good friends” who pose together for photos and call each other “babe” on Instagram, but really have no substance to their relationship beyond that. I’m here to find my very best friends — the ones who I’ll keep in touch with every day even though we’re both in different timezones and haven’t actually met face-to-face in years, who love me because, not in spite of, my out-there ideas and brazen antics. I want friends who will watch the sun rise with me while talking about our strongly rooted subconscious fears, who don’t hesitate to look me in the eye and call bullshit when they don’t agree with something I say. I want friends who will make me into a better person and help me grow. And I want to be that friend to others.

If you read Fake and Basic, I am going to act as though you and I are already on that level of friendship. You’re gonna get a lot of opinions about my favorite sad indie songs and read about the woo-woo self-help strategies I employ and hear about my deepest, darkest anxieties and see all of my bougie-ass outfits. I’ll even teach you how to code and take you along on my adventures. Come hang out with me.

I’ll be publishing an article almost every day here on the Fake and Basic main blog (making full use of that scheduling system over here). I don’t have an editorial calendar or a list of topics I’ll be covering for the week, because honestly, what fuels my writing is the flow I feel in the moment, and too many times I’ve planned stuff out only to have writer’s block when I sit down to actually write it.

If you want to hear about the events that inspired a specific topic, get your ass on my email list for weekly updates that include my articles from the past seven days, others’ books and blog posts I’m currently reading that inspire me, and whatever the fuck else I feel like putting in there. If reading this blog is like being my BFF normally, then being on that list will be like being my BFF at a Friday-night sleepover. [2] Let’s metaphorically steal my parents’ fancy liquor and talk about our day-to-day lives into the wee hours of the morning. Let’s discuss our ideas about society and the world at large. Let’s talk about our dreams for the future and actually take concrete steps toward accomplishing them.

Let’s live bigger, laugh louder, and finally be fucking free. ♚


[1] The terms “professional” and “real world” are highly abstract terms that are thrown around a lot to get unruly kids to stop fucking with whatever system they happen to be in. For example, a teacher told me when I was in third grade that I had to learn cursive, because “everybody uses it in the real world.” Ironically, I do write in cursive on a regular basis now, but most of the people I know do not. “Professional” is defined as “engaged in a specified activity as one’s main paid occupation rather than as a pastime” — there’s nothing about office dress codes or not being allowed to say the word “fuck” in there. Likewise, “real world” is defined as “the existing state of things, as opposed to one that is imaginary, simulated, or theoretical.” By that definition, every environment you are in is the “real world.” Children should be wary of abstract things that adults tell them, because those things often form the base of many rational-seeming fears that keep them from pursuing what they love.

[2] No, “sleepover” does not connote naked pillow fights, so get out of here, you perv. I do not work for PornHub, nor do I really want to. Unless they’re hiring iOS engineers, in which I may consider it, if only to see what it would be like to work for PornHub as an engineer.

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