Friday, February 20, 2015

Authenticity Is A Form Of Love

"It seems to me that being authentic is being brave enough or just candid enough to be honest about what you are experiencing or who you are, whether it is popular or not. A person gives a gift to other people when they say, 'This is what happened to me or this is how I truly feel, no matter what the popular belief is about what I should feel.' Whenever you are honest, you are speaking for a thousand silent people who don't have the voice to say what they really feel or are really experiencing. So, if you ever talk about [the thing you went through], you will touch a million hearts. Because you are speaking for more than just yourself. You are never alone in what you are feeling."

 - from Joanna Goddard's mom

I finally received my lab results from my doctor today. She said that the cells which were "highly abnormal" turned out to be just mildly abnormal. She said that she is very confident that they will clear up on their own and I can come back in six months to make sure.

I felt so relieved at the good news! My heart felt infinitely lighter. I am not sure whether the first diagnosis was a mix up or whether all the good will I received changed things, but it doesn't really matter. I am grateful to be doing better emotionally and physically.

 I am still questioning whether I should have shared anything publicly, but I keep remembering that "the only censorship we apply to ourselves is the kind that will censor other people's genuine right to be whole." That's the opposite of what I want to do. To share a moment of weakness is to make yourself vulnerable, but to make yourself vulnerable is to show your true strength.

I've been thinking a lot about what it means to be authentic, or to be true. I hate the phrase "be your best self." It sounds exhausting and like you might have to hide stuff that isn't "best" quality. I prefer the simple phrase "be yourself." Or sometimes I tell my friends "let your freak flag fly."

This summer I had the great privilege to spend five days in Paris by myself. Those were probably my most favorite days of the entire year. I soaked up the opportunity for peace and quiet in such a romantically beautiful city. One evening I took a long walk along the Seine. There is a bridge where lovers can lock up their love and throw away the key. I stood there for a long time. Its funny, but I almost never feel lonely when I am alone. I promised myself that I would take good care of myself always. I promised myself that I would be there for me and I wouldn't do anything to intentionally harm myself. It probably sounds cheesy or maybe even self-absorbed, but I needed it. I needed to know that I am not alone in my own company. I needed to know that I wouldn't compromise on my own happiness.  I needed to break down the barriers between who I think I am and who I actually am.

Last week I wrote about learning to receive love and support from outside.  But it is equally important to receive it from within.  Authenticity is a way of supporting ourselves.  I realized recently that love means accepting someone or something exactly as it is.  Anything else is conditional.  Authenticity is one form of love.  It is allowing ourselves to say what we feel, be who we are, and change as we go.

I still wish I had not made a private thing so public, but I decided to own it.  It is part of my life experience and I'm working on welcoming my experiences instead of hiding them.  I may have earned a new wrinkle this past week and I want it to have its place in the map of my face and life.

I loved finding this haiku in my Instagram feed this week.  Wishing you the courage to be authentic,  We can do all things. :) 

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