Embracing authenticity - sounds like someone's new year resolution. While it may very well be just that for someone, it has long been a practice of mine. Key word, practice. I tend to be an oddball so there are often temptations to become less odd to fit in with those around me. That only lends itself to more awkward interactions than would be present if only I had been my genuine self in the first place.
I was attending the First birthday party for my Godson when I found myself in a battle to fit in or be genuinely me. Imagine it, photo shoot time against the wall they had dressed up for the occasion. The backdrop was awesome, all the kids attending the party were masters of the camera. My own niece - then 6 years old - had just finished her photo session where she bopped over to the wall and suddenly became one of America's Next Top Models, smizing for the camera and dropping into polished pose after polished pose. Here's the dilemma - that's just not me. I could a) attempt to fit in for my niece and try to strike a pose or b) just be my naturally awkward self in front of the camera. What message would I be sending if she too knew that striking a pose (and man would it have been an awkward one) was just not in my nature. The greater value was in being my silly, awkward self. So, when it was my turn, I walked to the photo wall with my head held high and took one of my trademark photos. Then after an excited hug from my niece, I walked away (despite what others might think) with my dignity still in tact. Sure there were some huffs and puzzled looks from some of the adults, but the kids all got a good giggle out of it and my niece watched me be myself, which was far more valuable than attempting to save face in front of any of the adults. That pose looked a bit like this, but sub out my outfit for one more appropriate for a birthday party and the backdrop for one with the Sesame Street gang.
There are far more benefits that accompany being your authentic self, than drawbacks, though our American society would have you believe the opposite. There is such pressure to "fit in" to what is deemed "normal". But who sets the bar for normal? We're all humans with such varied backgrounds that there couldn't possibly be a norm for society as a whole. Believing so would surely mean putting the clamps on the authentically unique personalities which we have all developed. Embracing your genuine self may make some uncomfortable, it may push the envelope, but at the end of the day, it is you who has to be proud of the person you present to the world.
It's okay to side-step the inauthentic in an effort to strengthen your practice of embracing authenticity. Start within and identify who you are, then let your authentic light shine brightly for all to see. And remember, regardless of what others have to say in opposition of your authentic self, "nothing can dim the light that shines from within." Maya Angelou, said that. Practice makes perfect...
So, for this week's #Go52 challenge, I'll be posting two illustrations: one from a quick sketch that I dropped in a notebook that resembles what probably would have been the inauthentic me from my anecdote above (see below and prepare to be amazed), and another later in the week of the Maya Angelou quote above.
I look forward to your #Go52 posts! Remember, you choose the medium - illustration, written word, photography, etc. Here are the options for this week:
Share it. Tag it. #Go52