Authenticity is my favourite word. I've been toying with inking those 12 letters into my wrist but I don't think it'll vibe right when I'm 80 and my skin has loosened to a degree that it just reads TITY.
What does it mean to be authentic?
I'd say in simple terms it means honesty and integrity. Radiating your truth no matter what the external circumstances. Connecting to people with vulnerability and remaining present to listen when confronted or challenged.
I watched a recent Vogue interview between Paris Lees and Emma Watson and felt my heart sing. I'd recommend putting in 30 minutes of your day to watch the Youtube clip (I've linked it below). Let me break it down.
There is the interviewer Paris Lees; a Transwoman activist who I only just learned about from this video. That in itself tells you how mainstream media pushes cisgendered heteronormative sexuality at the forefront of culture, so that we don't get to know other humans in the same degree of celebrity. Paris is the first Transwoman to write a column in Vogue and has apparently hosted shows on BBC Radio too. I'm not a fan of Vogue perse, but this in itself is a monumental move for the dinosaurs and one that in five years I hope will be the absolute norm in all industries. Paris is curious and receptive. In the interview, she is candidly open about her own experiences struggling with being accepted as Trans. There is such integrity in her line of questioning that you can watch Emma open up more and more too. Openness is contagious.
Then there is my middle school crush Emma Watson. I'm ironically writing that (although it's true), because that is what we have come to know female celebrities as. How many times have we seen robot interviewers rabbiting on with lines like 'who is your celebrity crush?', 'what are you wearing?', 'what beauty product could you not live without?', 'tell me about your dating life'. All these shite and inevitable lines of questioning are as dry as my mam's sense of humour. Trust me, as a big time fan of Fifth Harmony, I've pretty much absorbed every interview there is out there with these five women. With some band members beginning their journey in the music industry aged 15, these girls were (AND STILL ARE) subjected to the most painfully sexist bullshit questions at nearly every encounter. It frightens the shit out of me to see them aged 16, trying to smile and fake enthusiasm to cover exhausted and lonely eyes.
It was like stepping into a cool breeze, listening to Emma discuss her discovery of intersectional feminism, her anxiety in being out in public and feeling like she didn't belong. Emma is using her platform to ripple waves of consciousness towards the abuse and tyranny women face day to day. She is just as much of a nervous wreck as the rest of us and for the first time I could really hear that truth. It was thanks to Paris' ability to hold space in the interview. You see, Paris understood that in order to bring out the truth, we have to allow people to feel safe and heard. There wasn't any falsity in that room and this evolution made me so excited for the future.
We have lived in a culture since the 1990's where everything has been louder than life. Just look at the in-your-face marketing from when we were kids and cringe. We still have old school radio adverts where the women talk through their noses in fake nasal accents, reality TV shows that perpetuate horrific ways to live your life that we all know are fake, fake tan, fake Instagram pictures, fake narratives. But I can sense our society is craving something real. After all, the cracks in the facade of Hollywood only reveal to us all how these old abusive systems are slowly crumbling. These people can't hide anymore. We are seeing companies move towards empathy based advertising; pulling at the heartstrings. We root for people who are salt of the earth. We want real heros, we want people talking candidly about their struggles without fakery. All of this will dramatically change the landscape of lies and personna that was part of the old paradigm.
Wouldn't it be amazing if we could turn on the TV and hear people having conversations? Not debates where they are all yelling about who has a bigger wind turbine, but actual in depth discussions to open our biases and challenge our preconceptions of others. Wouldn't it be beautiful, if we went on social media and every single human was candid about their current experience instead of manipulating the truth to seek validation for 40 minutes? Then the web of lies would unravel and we would be left with the biggest question of all. How can we help one another as a collective?
All of these changes we want and desperately need require authenticity. To show up and be truly who you are. No masks but lots of self-connection and presence.
So you may ask, what can I do to be more authentic then? Well, if you pay only $6338, you will receive a 10 step plan to help you...
Just joking. There aren't really any step by step guides. The small steps we take each day can act as lessons to help us develop. Personally, I've found meditation the most important part of pulling away from the noise around me. By meditation, what I mean is every morning, sitting for an hour in complete silence with my eyes closed. As I do this, all the pointless lies and energy trying to please others slowly starts to break away. If I am feeling sad, I allow myself to feel sad. If I feel I need to share my truth with someone, then I do. I won't allow someone else's idea of who I should be cloud who I really am. If I like sitting in my pants singing along to Camila and it brings me joy, that is what I will do. I'm not going to go on Instagram and make up a story about how I did a 12 mile run, am I? What good does lying do?
I want to impact greater change in the world, just like Paris and Emma. I have to put my heart on the line in order to do so. There will no doubt be hate, negative comments, loss of friends or family support. But when we don't speak from our hearts, we are committing a bigger crime. We are robbing the world of the truth it needs to hear in order to evolve. When you are authentic, it gives space for others to be authentic too. It's a beautiful domino effect.
Authenticity is sexy. Maybe I could get that tattooed on my inner thigh...