I like to journal (thank you Christina) about my weekly struggles. It serves as a reminder of what I’m working towards. In my journaling, I’m all for embracing my triggers so that I may outlive them - so I create a weekly triggers list. I have been able to recognize my triggers through therapy and attending SheHive classes. And, every week, since I’ve started this tradition, I’ve given myself permission to get curious about why certain triggers are on my list. Whenever it seems like I’ve mastered one trigger, another comes on a tsunami wave that crashes me harder than before into the sand. Thankfully, journaling encourages me to coach myself through my triggers to create a new comfort zone with healthy boundaries. These new zones require forgiveness and self-compassion, and in turn, have promoted identification of my authentic self.
Authenticity is unapologetic. It’s a, “This is me - take it or leave it,” battle cry that is too intentional to be ignored. It’s taking up space and being as loud as I’d like to be. It keeps my attention on my intention. Living authentically, after unintentionally suffocating my authenticity, has not been easy. Although the freedom I’ve given myself to explore my authentic self feels like an act of self-love, my weekly list frequently includes the struggles involved with living authentically.
For instance, often, I’ve felt the need to prioritize someone else’s emotions over my own. At the SheHive, we call this a performance - requiring you to “put on your tap shoes”. Performing requires winning validation, or assuming responsibility of another individuals’ comfort or happiness. Sometimes, I struggle to intervene with my triggered teenage self (thank you Robin) and stop the performance. This leaves me feeling icky.
I know I feel icky about situations I’ve orchestrated myself because it’s impossible to be the maestro of situations, even if it feels possible. Instead, I’m part of the symphony. Relationships require trust and intimacy. Being authentic and vulnerable is more difficult than pretending to be perfect, but the type of relationships I’ve gained far surpass the lack of dimensionality that comes with inauthenticity.
My honesty serves as music for those willing to listen, but living authentically has been hard work for me because it requires an acknowledgement of a lack of control. Every day feels like a marathon that involves pain, and so much chaffing. I like to think of inauthenticity as a mask that I place on others and myself; making life seem somewhat like theatre. But unlike theatre, no one has paid for this show. Succeeding at orchestrating a theatrical masterpiece while remaining sane would be dope. But instead, it’s a cocktail blend of being a shit show and a "fucktastrophy." And let me tell you, this drink tastes as shitty as I feel when I choose to perform.
I’ve come a long way. The SheHive has given me a space where I feel accepted. My tap shoes are no longer glued to my feet. I know that when you force experiences, they become unenjoyable because they’re not authentic. And that authenticity is directly related to how emotionally enjoyable the experience can be. Your body knows that the emotions you feel during your performance can’t be equated with the love (validation, etc.) that you seek. If you must force a game of tag to be chased, does it matter if you get caught?
What have I learned? You can’t buy authenticity with ambition and persistence. When you feel like you’re “missing something” or are feeling icky from an experience, check if authenticity was invited. She doesn’t make for a great theatre guest, but she will hold your hand as you live your truth.
Invitation for homework: If you feel uncomfortable being authentic, explore where you are assigning weight within your world.