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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  1. Michael Hindes · November 9, 2012

    great post!

  2. Stephanie · November 9, 2012

    Remember how we were saying something about blogs that speak exactly to you? This is one of them. Thank you for being messy- you being messy allows us to be messy too. Cheers to owning our mess. This is beautiful.

    • carriehokanson · November 12, 2012

      Cheers to messiness! And thank you, Lord, we’re not alone in this mess.

  3. higgins. · November 9, 2012

    damn. got me right where it always hurts. I sooooooo do this (as we discovered through tears on Skype today). it’s so much easier to talk about struggles when we’ve already overcome. Dealing with the mess of today is never fun. But it’s more bearable doing it alongside people like you. Love you, friend.

    • carriehokanson · November 12, 2012

      Tears, shouts, standing on things, you name it. We will walk through the mess together, friend.

  4. Ms. Patti · November 9, 2012

    Love you! xo

  5. Stacy P. · November 9, 2012


  6. sparksmcgee · November 24, 2012

    Truth! ❤

    • sparksmcgee · November 24, 2012

      Also – NICE! I always hesitate to say “well-written” because it’s so vague, but then I don’t want to be all literary-critic-specific on your blog. So I will just say – this is wonderfully composed with a wonderful message. Thank you!

      • sparksmcgee · November 24, 2012

        OMG, I meant “well-written” is a vague phrase. Ack ack ack ack. :-p

  7. Sarah · November 24, 2012

    Oh, you are so right! Thanks for sharing this.

  8. theindividual2012 · November 24, 2012

    really good post absolutley perfect 😉

  9. eweed730 · November 24, 2012

    I was bored and simply browsing posts and I clicked on this post. Fantastic! I really enjoyed reading your writing and I love the way you made me think.
    Thank you for the good read,

  10. blackshepherd · November 24, 2012

    You should probably stay away from the Shawn Colvin for awhile…just kidding! It is significant though that of all the interesting looking titles to choose from on the Freshly Pressed page I jumped right to yours even though I was on my way to obsessively checking the news on yahoo for news of nuclear explosions, asteroids, gigantic sunbursts pointed directly at Earth, drought etc, etc…so you know it must have been a catchy title…even now, here I am writing this reply to you when I otherwise would be looking for evidence of the end of the world…I don’t mind dying so much I just don’t want to go alone…you know? I’m such a scaredly cat. I’m thinking that if we all get to Heaven at the same time atleast some of us will be able to sneak through the gate during all the commotion. Otherwise, I know I don’t stand a chance…hence my checking rituals…I must say though…you did distract me for a few minutes…

  11. Kathy · November 24, 2012

    Wonderful post. So well written…and yet packs a punch. May we all wake up fully to our own true selves before we’re not faking our own death anymore.

  12. dirtydiscoradio · November 24, 2012

    Great post indeed!

  13. segmation · November 24, 2012

    Nice post! Good you are now living in the present! Thanks for sharing this!

  14. Gail · November 24, 2012

    I’ll confess…. clicking on a post with the title of “How to Fake Your Own Death” left me feeling a little odd. But it was the best post I’ve read in a while! Thanks for really making me think…. and feel.

  15. becomingrobyn · November 24, 2012

    This is a great post! It really resonated with me, thanks!

  16. makiani · November 24, 2012

    Definitely not what I expected. I expected something weird – not wonderful…Thanks for the really nice surprise!

  17. Orion Nebulae · November 24, 2012

    This is great, I love your writing style. I must say, I think in the real world we would get along well (what? WordPress isn’t the real world?!) (:


  18. littlewing · November 24, 2012

    To admit we need help is not a bad thing. I’ve done so myself. It is in fact liberating. To know you are on your way to moving forward and moving up in the world. It is a shame that we are taught to show no weakness, nobody is perfect. We all have our individual weaknesses. It shows strength to ask for help & overcome them

  19. allthingsgibberish · November 24, 2012

    That was great 🙂 not what I thought it would be at first, but it turned out to be even better.

  20. nataliedache · November 24, 2012

    CARRIE you got freshly pressed!! So cool!!

    This is awesome… and scary. And so so true.
    Especially when all your friends are having adventures and you have to go back to your parents’ house.
    I’m with you.
    Happy thanksgiving- hopefully I’ll see you soon. 🙂

  21. skyblueguy · November 24, 2012

    Great post.

  22. chrisknox155 · November 24, 2012

    Reblogged this on Great blogs.

  23. aramblingmedic · November 24, 2012

    firstly, if the start is real – i have no idea how you manage to keep a straight face! really interesting take on something that I imagine everyone whose read this has gone through.
    loved it. thank you for a good 1am read!

  24. camdenstables · November 24, 2012

    “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.”
    Admitting that today you are not okay scares a lot of people. And I also find a lot of people like to take advantage of it to make themselves look better or just plain make you look worse.

  25. WhiteRidr · November 24, 2012

    Oh, how I miss “red cap” drills. (Only when I got to be the victim) That’s what we called them in the city where I guarded.

    Thank you for this post – very well done. And congrats on being FP!

    (Might re-post)


  26. Nilay Sundarkar · November 24, 2012

    Nice read!!

  27. Margie Brimer · November 24, 2012

    I love this! It’s somehow more acceptable to be an over comer than someone who is actually trudging through the mire. I suppose it’s because having made it through the trial makes us the victor but we don’t have the badge of victory to show yet, when we’re in the middle of the trial. Your quote at the end reminded me of a quote from the movie Hook by the captain himself, “Death is the only adventure you have left.”

  28. sagescenery · November 24, 2012

    It’s in our weakness that Jesus can use us for great things!! Thanks for letting everyone know!! Great post!

  29. susielindau · November 24, 2012

    This is such a wonderful and honest post. I am still learning about myself. Yesterday I took an online test and found out that I am ADD. I am reeling from that insight. You see, I am 54 years old and couldn’t figure out why I still need absolute quiet when I mix up a cake or why I get anxious and talk a lot when in a group of people. Life is one big mess and it is full of surprises!
    It is easy to comment about this, but like you said, I will have to think about how and when I will share the information….
    Congrats on being Freshly Pressed!

  30. ssrijana · November 24, 2012

    Great post.

  31. Malavika C. Prakash · November 25, 2012

    great post!! it mirrors what I’m going through in my life right now… reading what you’ve written kind of gives me an indication that I’m not alone… So, cheers to us for not being perfect and finally accepting and loving ourselves for who we are!!

  32. phoxis · November 25, 2012

    There is no perfect human, because to know if the person is perfect or not you need a baseline of perfectness, which is not available, if you try to fix one it will become “imperfect” because no one is “perfect” . It’s human. Sometimes there is nothing bad to mask things off, provided it does not harm others. I think it’s the communication and conflict between the inner people inside your mind. One of them want’s to do something, the other one may tell no i shouldn’t. It’s one body, but there is more than one person, images, inside your mind of you and other people too, with whom you communicate. People evolve and theirs views evolve, change into new persons (in the name body), that is natural, but there is a thin blurred line, which matters, beyond which you have no more control on the persons in your mind, who will drift you off in some direction. But the problem is that line has to be decided by the person himself/herself.

    Sorry for the unreadable comment. Great post, and congratulation for getting into freshly pressed.

  33. thosesmallmoments · November 25, 2012

    That’s honesty right there, and I salute you girl! It’s not that often that I find or meet people who are open to admitting that they need help, that they’re vulnerable, that they want to be loved and cared for despite their flaws. Most of the time, we always pretend that we can get through everyday, that we can strive to be perfect, and that we can be independent. It’s crazy actually. Even tiring, I suppose.

    But here’s to version 2.0 of ourselves – to no more pretending and to accepting that we are simply perfectly imperfect!

    Congrats on being Freshly Pressed by the way! 🙂

  34. sourcookies · November 25, 2012

    Very nice post.

  35. OyiaBrown · November 25, 2012

    Reblogged this on Oyia Brown.

  36. olsonwright · November 25, 2012

    I love this!

  37. khope99 · November 25, 2012

    Great Post! It made me think more about myself. It was a nice read! And congratulations on being Freshly Pressed 😀

  38. dreamswillcatchyou · November 25, 2012

    I love this, its amazing, I connected with it which doesn’t normally happen, thankyou for the post! 🙂

  39. Kami Tilby · November 25, 2012

    Great insight and honesty! Some days I’m not sure if I’m faking it, or simply slogging through the mess the best I can’t without falling down face first into the mire. Being authentic and grateful for the ride seems to be what counts huh? Thanks for a great post!

  40. Andrew Johnson · November 25, 2012

    Been there done that. Thanks

  41. WhiteRidr · November 25, 2012

    Reblogged this on Dear Someone, and commented:
    Loved this post – thought I’d share. Brought me back to my lifeguarding days. =)

  42. queen4evr125 · November 25, 2012

    No one in this life travels alone…no matter how much we tell ourselves that particular lie. we each touch other lives….whether in a positive or negative way. Thank you for touching my life in a positive way.

  43. Becki Duckworth · November 25, 2012

    Great blog , the best I have read all morning. I as well have been in the same boat.

  44. binxy101 · November 25, 2012

    Reblogged this on A-little-bit-of-everything. ♥.

  45. timkeen40 · November 25, 2012

    The facade we put up as ourselves is rarely the person we really are. So few people have the courage to truly be the person they really are and, thus, end of up faking their whole lives.

    Damn if you didn’t make me think.


  46. alice-in-wonder · November 25, 2012

    Great way of seguing from the drill to your actual topic.

  47. Crystal · November 25, 2012

    Wow. Excellent post.

  48. Pingback: Hey, Doll, it’s not polite to stare. « Jill of all Trades Mistress of None
  49. yanceyk · November 25, 2012

    Reblogged this on In finite and commented:
    Am I truly following Christ, or am I just following what I think I should look like?

  50. redzgy · November 25, 2012

    Nice read, I agree. We all have these problems, it’s how we overcome them is what matters. Thanx for the post 😉

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