Authenticity Is a Gift: Who Knew?
|January 23, 2012||Posted by Jenny Ann Fraser under ADHD, Feast...|
Yes I know. My last post was about Authenticity too. But since this is what I happen to be thinking about, a lot, it is what I write about too…
When the word Authenticity chose to be my word for 2012, I had no idea what I had gotten myself into. (And yes, I did intentionally write that the word chose me because this is what happened.)
Im not sure what I expected. My plan had been to focus on learning how to be more authentic, but I hadn’t realized that this was actually a somewhat complex puzzle that needed to be solved. This is good news by the way because this is exactly my favourite kind of puzzle. I especially like the part where I get all confused and muddled so I obsess until I figure it out. I havent reached the completely confused stage yet, but I am only 3 weeks in and I can already feel it coming.
What I love, is that people are asking me questions that are forcing me to look at it from new perspectives and Im realizing that the more I delve into it, the more there will be to delve into. It is kind of like finding treasure. Enough of it in fact that it could take much longer than a year to sort out exactly what I have won, and Im fine with that.
As I wrote in my last post, I have found that being authentic in my writing has proven to be the way to go. Allowing my true self to come out through my words has been met with love and support for which I am forever grateful.
I suppose that some less trusting individuals might assume that I have simply been lucky (lets face it, I am no Leo Babuta when it comes to subscription numbers) but I am pretty sure this is not the case. I am beginning to realize that most of us crave and respect true authenticity in others, even if were afraid to be authentic ourselves.
Of course this is not always the case, and there is often someone around who will not appreciate your particlar authenticity. But if youre hiding your true self, you can always find someone who will not appreciate who your pretending to be. See, we can pretty much be rejected by someone regardless of whether were real or not. Being real not only requires less energy, but it has got to be the only chance well ever have of being truly happy.
I spent much of my earlier life attempting to fit into the proverbial box because I was convinced that this was the only way that I would ever be worthy, or loveable. This erroneous thinking was extra torture because I can’t even find the box let alone fit into it. And now, I finally understand that the reason I could not find the box is not because Im some sort of deficient sub-human… It is because Im not supposed to.
I think that a big reason for my lack of self-worth in my youth comes from being talented at many things and somehow baffled by ordinary day to day life management. This is not due to lack of intelligence, motivation, or skills. This is because my whacky ADHD brain more often than not refuses to cooperate and allow me to concentrate on things that I have little or no interest in regardless of how important those things are. When I do not have enough stimulation, my brain becomes a slow, thick foggy place where basic things like remembering the order of the alphabet become a challenge. This brain also has grave difficulty organizing anything, from thoughts to socks, and I have pretty much zero interest in spending my free time engaging in tasks that feel like mental torture. I have my job for that.
(*Note: If you are reading this and thinking that all I need is to grow up and grow some discipline… remember, it wouldnt be classified as a disorder if I could simply turn it off by trying. )
It makes me laugh a little that one of the most constant criticisms I have heard from others all of my life, (including just last week) is that I have too many interests and I should just focus on, fill in the blank with something boring enough to make even an ordinary person want to dig their eyeballs out with a spoon.
It turns out, that it is a damn good thing that I have so many interests, because without them, my brain would go on permanent strike. I would lose my ability to maintain a job, and consequently lose my home. I would then have to leave the city and go be homeless in the woods somewhere and Id probably end up getting eaten alive by a bear or a pack of coyotes because Im not paying attention.
I am probably only still here because I have so many interests, helped by the fact that my neighborhood is predator free.
Thank God I finally understand this, and thank God I have finally stopped trying to hide from the world because of it. It makes such sense to me now that my best shot at any success or lasting happiness in this life does not lie in pretending to be anything other than who I am. Especially since I can hardly pretend to be a normal organized, domesticated human being when Im actually kind of feral.
I read a fantastic book this week, which Im not going to write about because it is currently blowing my mind. Being your authentic self is recurring topic in the book. In a list of people who have attained great success through being their unique, authentic selves as opposed to copies of what we think were supposed to be, the name Allie Brosh came up.
If you have never encountered Allie Brosh’s blog Hyperbole and a Half you should. Unless of course, you dont enjoy laughing or tend to faint at the sight of the occasional appropriately placed F-bomb.
What I love about Allie’s Hyperbole and a Half, is that no matter what my mood, I can wander over to Allie’s blog and read posts guaranteed to make me laugh out loud.
My all time favourite post is This Is Why Ill Never Be an Adult. which paints an awesomely accurate and hilarious picture complete with drawings and diagrams, of… My Life!
But shes writing about hers… (Oddly enough, we both have ADHD.) Allie Brosh has definitely made it to my list of heros.
Here is someone writing hilarious accounts of daily struggles that I spent much of my life trying to hide out of shame. Now Allie Brosh has what I assume is a pretty darned lucrative contract with Touchstone for sharing exactly what I hid for so long, and being completely honest about it. Ally Brosh is a perfect example of why we should all be less afraid to be real.
Being herself, right down to writing stories about her serious struggles with depression has not only led her to be able to make a living doing what she is brilliant at, it has also proven that it is not so unusual for people to struggle with these things. Knowing that Im not alone or unique in my struggles sure makes it easier to accept myself the way that I am and I imagine that it helps others too.
Add to that, the reality that she is struggling proves that we shouldn’t wait until we are perfect before we show ourselves to the world. We probably shouldn’t even wait until were less flawed, because, it turns out that living authentically is a gift to both ourselve, and the world.
Which leads to the question: What are we denying ourselves and the world when we are not truly ourselves? How in the hell do we figure out who our authentic self really is, and how do stay true to that?
Part Two of Authenticity Is a Gift: Who Knew? When I figure out the answer to the how questions. (Please be patient. This could take some time.:p)