What does it mean to be yourself?
Can that question ever really be answered? I feel like I have known the answer to that question several times in my life, and yet I always seem to forget. Maybe part of knowing who you are is forgetting it, so that you can rediscover yourself all over again.
What I do know is that it is exhausting.
Well at least it is exhausting for me. Insomnia has set in this time around the 'who am I' game. I think back to just a few weeks ago when I could easily lay my head down, confident in the "who I am and where I am going" game. I could just drift off to sleep. Like a baby.
I never thought I would experience this. I do not consider myself an expert in much, but sleep....yeah, I am a pro at sleeping. Or, at least I was. Now, I lay my head down and I am lucky to saw a few hours before my brain decides, “Hey...I think it is time for you to think about everything that you have ever thought about...all at once..at 1:48 a.m.” I am pretty good at finding the silver lining, but this time around it all looks grey.
This started for me several weeks ago when I realized that the words genuine and authentic felt very different to me. I was not able to explain why - outside of the energy each word held.
It is a phrase I hear a lot these days. Starting your own business is a tough practice, but this by far has been the biggest piece to chew for me.
“Most importantly remember to be authentic!”
What does that even mean? I mean, I get the gist. But, how can anyone just be authentic?
Now genuine I feel, I get. Genuine is owning who you are and meeting your truth at any given time. Genuine feels right. It feels real.
Authentic feels forced, like a pretty mask over false confidence. The problem, I find, is that if you are in any way working to improve yourself, how can you show up in an authentic way? Genuine can hold the individual's flaws in a beautiful way, bringing together the whole self. Authentic feels like a verified thing. Something that can be fact checked in a legalistic manner.
Could it be that this word is being used in a misleading way? I don't know about you but if I was true to my origin, well let's just say I would not be where I am now, and life would, you know...suck.
I am proud of who I am. And, who I am is in no way close to where I came from. I have fought hard to overcome a lot of crap in my life, and the majority of it stems from my “origin”. I can also say that a large chunk of the work I have done is in accepting my story and loving my hardships, as these are the things that make me who I am.
But, even with that I still don't feel like I will ever be comfortable in wearing “Authentic”. I see and know others that can, though. I met an authentic woman today. She knows who she is without a single shred of hesitation. She also comes from a place of love and acceptance. I doubt she has ever experienced abandonment or rejection, and if she has it definitely did not come from the foundation and core of her life...her family. This woman has been loved, and she has been loved well. She fills any room she walks into with her own unique light, and I would be willing to guess she rarely, if ever, questions herself.
So from here my question is:
Could it be that only a certain type of person can wear Authentic?
Perhaps in order to wear Authentic you have to have a firm foundation, from a somewhat early time in life. A happy place of origin as your solid rock of existence to reference...as your credentials. This of course allows for the normal growing pains, but for the most part no trauma to process. Those that can own authentic have not had the foundation crumble from under them. The origin is still intact. For the rest of us there is:
How does that feel?
I like it. This seems to have more room for error. While authentic holds in its definition the legalistic proof of origin, genuine merely brushes away anything that is not what it is. Authentic has firm roots, while genuine has a 'what you see is what you get' air to it.
That is something I can hold to.
I sat down to try and figure out what my authentic self looks like, and now, at 3:29 am, I realize that I don't have one. And that is okay. I may actually have pride in the fact that I cannot be 'Authentic'. For me to be able to have claimed so would have meant not picking up the broken pieces when they shattered from the world collapsing under my feet. I have fought hard to be the woman I am today, so with a smile I raise my glass to authenticity and gladly drink my earned share of genuine.