On Authenticity

Monday, July 9, 2018

I really feel that I'm in no place to pen a blog post on authenticity, but here I am. I struggle with this topic a lot because I really feel that I'm playing a game of catch up in terms of really knowing myself.

My birthday is coming up, and I've been really stressed out about it because I find there is sooooo much pressure to have it all together by a certain age, and I'm just not there. I had a moment where I realized I don't have a firm idea of who I am as a person and that I should probably figure it out. 

I started squirreling away on this project, but it all came to a halt when I caught up with some friends at a wedding. Each of us took turns sharing how we don't really know what we're doing, despite the fact that we should. I was pretty surprised to hear these admissions because, on the surface, it seemed that these friends were doing well. 

I silently thought about this conversation for days and came to understand that a lot of us (myself included) are just faking it. I then fell down a rabbit hole of reflection and came to the conclusion that I've been faking it for a long time. And I'm tired.  

There are so many 'shoulds' thrust upon us, which is incredibly difficult to navigate when you're young. For me as a young black girl, I was told that I should dress a certain way, listen to certain music and enjoy certain activities. I wasn't interested in much of it and the teasing was relentless. I decided to hide that side of myself from the world to get by. I spent a lot of time trying to fit in because I just wanted to belong somewhere. Anywhere. Looking back, I get really upset with myself because I wasted so much time hiding, and now in my adult life I have to spend more time unlearning some self-loathing and figuring myself out. 

I know I'm supposed to provide some life-changing advice at this point, but the truth is - I don't have any. I'm learning (much later than I care to admit) that it's okay to like the things you like in spite of the 'shoulds'. Our lives are so short and you're cheating yourself if you're spending the time doing anything you hate or pretending to be fine if you're not. I have so many regrets, but I can't go back and change anything. I just have to press on - one day at a time - and figure it out along the way.

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