Wednesday, October 7, 2015
Letter to October #6
I've been thinking a lot about the difference between the person we are when we're alone and the person we are when we are when we're around other people. If we're lucky, the difference isn't very noticeable, maybe only to ourselves. But more often then not, I find myself shifting ever so slightly to better fit the space that the person I'm with occupies. The essentials of my personality are always there, but the nuances are different. I do this without even thinking about it. I think we all do.
Lately I've been seeing the word "authentic" thrown around on social media and in real life. It's one of those words that is practically meaningless when it's used alone. You can only be authentic in relation to something that's fake. There's no one true way to be authentic, because authenticity is something that, by definition, just exists, free from all outside influence. To be honest, I'm not sure true authenticity exists, at least not in people. People can be genuine. They can have good intentions, and a strong moral compass, and a unique personality. But true authenticity? What does that even mean? How do we dig into the core of our being to find it? And if we stuck to it, how many people would we alienate in the process?
To me, being genuine is the act of reaching for authenticity. It's a word that, while still context specific, is much easier for me to wrap my head around. To be genuine is to know yourself and present as much of yourself to the world as you can. Genuineness allows for mistakes and variation, while, authenticity feels fixed, as if your personality were a gemstone that could be examined under a magnifying glass.
At this point I could probably wax poetic about the impossibility of two very similar words having completely different connotations in my head. I find it amazing that I can even articulate the differences, however clumsily. But it's getting late, October, so I'll leave you with a question instead. I wonder how you act around the other months- if you ever put flowers in your hair to impress May, or paint the leaves with frost to get on December's good side. I wonder if you are jealous of July's swagger, or March's temper, or September's mildness. I wonder if you ever lie on your back in the grass and stare up at the sky and search for your authentic self. I wonder, for the millionth time, if you can see your own beauty.
Song of the Day: Featherstone by The Paper Kites