Saturday, July 13, 2013

What Is Authenticity?

Most people would say to be authentic is a positive attribute, but what does it mean. To be Real (yes the disco song is playing in my head right now) to be True, to be Transparent, to be Honest. Why do I aspire to be Authentic? What does Authenticity have to do with my Art?

"Life is A Masquerade"
My Latest Embellished Bit of Artwork

I think to be authentic is to be wholly one's self. There is this deep need inside all of us, to be known and understood. This can be crazy hard since I have no idea who I really am, not to mention it changes constantly. So often who we are is tied up in our roles (mother, daughter, architect, artist, teacher, ...) and sadly our possessions and status. We also take to heart the characteristics that others have put on us (the smart one, the rational one, the fat one, ...) These are just cloaks, bits of clothing we put on or simply forget to take off, not our essence.

The only "true me" and absolute part of my core being is that I am a child of God, undeserving but unconditionally loved. This is my foundation even when everything else is whirling like autumn leaves in a wind gust, or a shell fragment in the crashing surf. This is more than a mere role or personality but the unchanging center of ME. 

We (& by this I mean me but I think it is pretty universal) have been hurt by sharing too much with the world so we build up an armor (strange how closely armor resembles the word amore). It can become almost impenetrable. We put on a face of what we think others will like or accept while keeping our most vulnerable self tucked tightly within. We think we are keeping ourselves safe but in reality we are closing ourselves off from truly experiencing life -an authentic life.

When we feel, feel deeply, we really live. The highs are higher and yes, the lows can be lower but WOW, it is authentic. I am only now learning to feel. It is wonderful. It is why I create.

I am trying to become more open. Let people see me more. I know that I can only be relatable (knowable) if I let the proverbial warts show. It is scary. I am afraid of being judged, being seen as boring, strange, awkward (all of which are probably at least a little bit true) Imagine the Wizard of Oz, I can't help but wanting to be the fancy face in the smoke, mysterious, bigger than life, significant.

But I am embracing all of me, even the crazy bits: black, white, purple, polka dotted, and plain. (Channelling the song by Meredith Brooks at the moment) I am all these things and more. Guess what, not everybody is going to like me (ouch) but it is ok. It is also ok to change, grow, and evolve. I am not who I was yesterday nor am I who I will be tomorrow.

Some masks are fine (even necessary) for a season but we need to know when we have them on and not be controlled or confined by them. So then ... Cheers to Authenticity. May you always be real.

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