Thinking, talking, writing about authenticity isn’t new for me. It’s probably a tired topic at this point. My soapbox is well worn in, my feet have borne deep into the wood below them. But the thing about it is, in this time of internet comparison, of competitive social media wit, home chef extraordinares and green thumb gardening mavens, it bears repeating.
Authenticity doesn’t always look pretty. It doesn’t always get you followers or boost the visits to your website. Authenticity doesn’t mean more likes on Instagram or more money in your pocket.
Being authentic, being heartfelt and moved by love and passion and ethics, means those goals– the likes, the money, the website traffic– is not your aim in the first place. Your aim is to understand who you are, and who you are going to be. It’s understanding that you haven’t arrived yet, but you have enough integrity to sleep well at night and be wholly and purely confident in yourself.
To be honest, I’m tired of trying to be anyone else. Because after long enough, I can’t do it. So guess what. I’m not the coolest or the most graceful. My style may be a little stale, and my haircut hasn’t changed in years. I want to change these things, and I even try– but after a while, it all feels like striving. And it feels so empty.
I think in a sense, we are all standing, shaking in our boots, wanting to be ourselves, but we keep getting lost trying to get there.
So I’ll keep writing, and I’ll keep wearing my clunky but sensible and supportive clogs. Because I know I’m giving myself to all my words, and the words that go out to friends in letter and emails, and to the unknown in magazines and journals, and to all you sitting behind your screens reading this. You’re getting what I’ve got– nothing more, nothing less.