Bold and Authentic
I don’t believe I tend to be either of these things. I’m not sure that it’s a bad thing (or a good one for that matter) but it’s been on my mind since last Wednesday.
Because a couple of months ago, a friend asked me and N to join her and her husband at a TEDx conference. I had no idea what the hell a TEDanything conference was, but when we looked up the website and saw that the goal of these kinds of meetings is to inspire and be inspired, I thought, let’s give it a go. Ok, I’m lying. See there goes the in-authentic thing right off the bat. My very first thought was, why would I want to go and sit in a dark auditorium listening to a bunch of jackass potential motivational speakers for a full (work) day?
The answer became, I’ll go with an open mind. N and I both really respect B and K and I find them to be not only really good people, but also extremely thoughtful and bright as well. We signed up and I pretty well forgot about it.
And then it was here. I had so much going on that week that it would have been easy to bow out at any point. I’m not great with follow-through. I remember hearing Susie C’s mom tell me that as an Aries, I’d have a hard time following through with things—seeing things to true completion. I swear, I was only like maybe 10 or 11 at the time but that prophecy has stuck with me and I’ve made myself follow-through on things that I had no reason, right or business following through with. Talk about inauthentic and meak. Learning my own authenticity, or truth, as the buzz word these days goes, has and remains, quite difficult.
Part of my authentic self is rooted in the need for quietude and at times, isolation. Not because I’m depressed or avoidant, but because my body and mind requires down time. I guess I’m like a really old computer where the monitor is the size of a refrigerator, compared to some who are the newest iPad. I’m not as fast and I need to be rebooted pretty frequently.
I used to be bold. I think I did anyway. As a competitive gymnast, I loved to be in front of the judges and parents and I competed fiercely. But for me, that fierce competitive spirit is draped in an understated passion.
These days, I know that I can be bold on the tennis court. When I play against N, I strike the ball like I’m willing it to explode. On good days, I can send the ball like a laser beam down the line with my backhand. So why don’t I play in a league or in a more competitive fashion? Because I have a bad track record of folding under pressure with tennis. My serve turns to shit and forget about my forehand. I’m not sure where the boldness goes to in these kinds of moments. The same happens when I’m in a group meeting and sense that although I should be contributing, I hesitate to speak. Where is my authentic and bold voice?
My authentic self is shy. And I hate it. Sometimes I pretend that there’s no social anxiety inside of me and say screw it to my own awkwardness! That takes a lot of energy though (see above) and many times it takes a lot for me to get amped up enough to feel I can adequately socialize.
My authentic self is lazy. Or to be more clear, my fantasy self is lazy. In real life, I move around like I’m battery powered—one thing to the next after work and before I know it, it’s bed time. My greatest fantasy is to have enough money to not have to work so that I can exercise, read and experiment in the kitchen. All.Day.Long. Talk about bold, eh?
My authentic self is boldy understated. And I’m learning to be ok with that. I’m slowly updating my self version. Granted it’s a slow process (see above) but I’m probably at maybe my 4th or 5th iteration. Maybe my truth will change with Foodbin V.6.
But the take-away from TEDx was this: we all have the power and ability to make good and even surprising choices for ourselves. You can’t get your time back.
What is your truth?