This is a Really Real Identity Post.
A few months ago I wrote Defining Myself, an identity crisis post where I was having a hard time figuring out what to write in a dating profile. I wrote out all of the things I’m not or didn’t do wholeheartedly, but it was hard to describe who I am. A few people on Facebook told me I should put just what I wrote.
I never did.
But lately a few people have told me how amazing it is that I’m not afraid to be my authentic self.
I was taken aback every time I heard that.
I hadn’t described what I do as being my authentic self, and I definitely was, and am afraid.
I just wear the clothes that appeal to me. I dye my hair the colors that I love. I write my story and share my truth because it’s cathartic, and also because it educates and helps me commiserate with other people.
It took me hearing other people say it for me to realize I am authentically and (mostly) unapologetically me.
I still don’t know how to describe who I am, but I’m realizing I do live my truth.
There’s a meme that floats around “Be so authentic that it inspires others to be themselves.” Or something like that. I have a hard time believing that is who I am.
But others tell me that they are learning to speak their truth and live their truth because they see me doing it.
And I have to admit, the more I live my truth, the bigger and brighter my smile gets.
I’m still anxious, almost constantly. Way more anxious than I think a lot of people realize. Being true to myself is hard in a world that doesn’t quite get people like me.
There’s another meme, “Speak your truth and see who sticks around. Those are the people who get a spot in your blanket fort.” I posted that once and was privately told that they didn’t get the point in sharing that, because, duh. (I’m paraphrasing.) I explained that for most of my life I didn’t realize that was how this worked.
I was worried about fitting in with everyone, being liked by everyone, not standing out and blending into the crowd so I wasn’t really seen.
I’m just now, within the last 3 years, realizing that life is too short to be anything but who I am.
It really sucks that it took her death to make me realize this.
But now I’m surrounded by people who get me and want to be around the real me. I am surrounded by more and more people. I have a supportive group of friends that is unlike anything I’ve ever known.
I’m not like this to inspire others. I’m like this because hiding, blending in, and being anyone other than myself was part of a slow suicide that happened for years.
That said, I do appreciate hearing the stories of people who beginning to live their own truth. It takes bravery to stop blending in.
I’m glad I get to be a part of that.