Monday, February 10, 2014

The Gifts of Imperfection: Lesson 2

Authenticity is a hard word to apply to one's life, especially when we live in a world that relies on being fake. Telling people you are fine when you are not. Posting happy, positive messages on Facebook, when inside you feel shitty about a friendship that just ended. Commenting on friends' successes even though you feel insanely jealous.

Cultivating authenticity, for this assignment, meant that we had to go back in time and look at old pictures of ourselves. Of all the pictures we could find, we had to choose one in which we were ourselves, truly and utterly ourselves. No posed shots necessary here. Then, we had to answer some questions.
Me at 21; Me at 3

I chose two shots.

In the first photo, I was around 2 or 3 years old. My mother had been searching for me in the house and finally found me hiding in the cupboard, amongst the pots and pans, with a bag of Doritos. I was happily munching away. This is me. I am 37 years old now, and I still love a good bag of Doritos.

In the second photo, I was about 21. It was summer, between my junior and senior year in college. I was still living in the Roundhouse apartments with my best friend, Shannon. We were celebrating my birthday. It was a three-day celebration with many friends and my then-boyfriend. On this particular day, we had been spending the day at Devil's Lake - picnicking, hiking, swimming. It was the perfect day, with perfect friends - a moment that I wish I could freeze in time. In this photo, I am wearing my swimsuit, messy hair, holding a s'more, licking marshmallow from my lips. Not a care in the world. I was smiling with sheer happiness. I thought I was beautiful because life was beautiful and relatively carefree. At the time, I had no idea what the real world would be like.
Answers to some questions about the girl in the photos

Here are the questions and my answers:
What do you see when you look at her?
I see a girl who enjoys food and likes to have fun. She has a mischievous side.

What do you love and appreciate about her?
I like that she doesn't care what others think of her. The messy hair, the big smile, the laughter - it's all part of the package.

What makes her light shine?
She likes being with people and leading an active life, but she also enjoys being alone. She needs a little of both to shine.

What can you do to take care of her?
Let her enjoy food, make sure she leads an active, fun life, but also that she has time to herself.

I chose two pictures that involved me eating (and thoroughly enjoying) food. Knowing that I like being alone as well as being with people was NOTHING NEW TO ME. But, I discovered something new by looking at these two pictures side by side. I looked back on the past several years that I have been trying (and failing) to lose weight. I have tried so many different techniques but none have really stuck for me. I know it is important to be healthy and active, but I also realized that food and my enjoyment of food WILL NEVER EVER go away. And, that is okay. I shouldn't constantly feel the need to deprive myself or later feel guilty because I had a few Doritos.

Just a doodle of the view from my living room.

Digging Deeper with the authenticity lesson

Songs that inspire
I realized that I can still have a fun, active life full of friends and family, and I can still eat and enjoy food. You know why? Because that is who I am. That is the real me.

In the latter part of the week, we were to think about being deliberate, getting inspired and getting going on our progress. In general, I want to make an effort to be more real with people and not try to hide my feelings. I think that when I have been able to do this, the response has been positive, but I also realize there is a nice way to go about this, so I am trying to be more aware of this. Inspiration was not hard to find. I have a few songs that have inspired me over the years - songs that I come back to again and again, especially when I am feeling down. Finally, this is a transitional period in my life. I am leaving a job (that I loved) for a better opportunity, and I hope this will get me on the right path. I was afraid, for a long time, to admit that I needed to find a way out, but I realized that no matter what I do, people will always find a way to judge me or make me feel guilty about my choices. I have to do what is right for me and my family - not what is right for them.

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