Living Authentically in an Inauthentic World
You’re only as sick as your secrets. I heard that recently and it made me think. A lot.
The other day I posted a video on my Instagram story of our new rooftop view. When one of my best friends messaged me about it, I told her, “ya, but you have to be on your tip toes to see it.” She responded with, “doesn’t say that on Instagram!” We laughed, but it also made me think more about what I’m putting out there…
The last six years of my life have been….magical. I’ve let many things in, but in order to do so, I’ve had to release a lot more. I try to be transparent with the people around me. Friends. Family. Strangers, even. I always thought vulnerability was a strong suit of mine, but it turns out I’m only exceling in certain areas. On the surface, that rooftop video seems harmless, but for me it’s a question of authenticity – am I being real? If not, why? What am I trying to say to the world, and is that message implying a lack of growth in certain areas?
Ya. It’s a lot. My brain turns faster than a jet propeller when these micro-assaults take place. Yet, they’re the things that tend to save me.
No Matter How Painful the Journey
Since 2014, after meeting my now-husband, I’ve been on a growth track. If you ask Fabian what I was like when we first met, his response may look something like this: lovely, amazing, beautiful. But what he isn’t telling you – the things he keeps between us – is: insecure, jealous, anxious, explosive.
I decided in 2014 that regardless of how painful the journey would be, it couldn’t be worse than the headspace I was living in at that time. I was bulimic. Reduced to panic attacks, where I’d collapse on the floor and my body would go numb. I felt stupid and small and ugly. I believed all of that was true. So, one day I thought, “if I believe these things, it means those beliefs stem from somewhere. Which also means I can learn to unbelieve them.” And thus started my journey towards the self…
My Struggles are Real to Me
Without writing an entire biography on the topic, I want everyone reading this to understand that what we are is human, and that being human is such a complex thing. There’s so much going on in the world right now, and you have some people who are truly the happiest they’ve ever been, while others have never suffered more! Why?
Don’t count on me to answer that for you. What I can say is judging when your own house isn’t in order is an attack on humanity. But how does all of this relate back to a 30-second video?
I have pieces of me that I love, and pieces of me that I’m working on. I can honestly say I don’t have parts that I hate. Anymore. I gave up the loathing a long time ago. Even so, we live inside our bodies and even if, to the outside world, we seem on top of our fucking game, we all struggle. Ya, moving to France and sharing images of this astounding place brings me joy, but it also has nothing to do with who I am as a human. I struggle. I love. I feel. Sometimes too much. So, maybe I’m just trying to even the score, or create more balance in the world, or WHATEVER, but here are the things I have a hard time with, and how I’m aiming to combat them.
I am an amazing planner on paper, but do not know how to execute.
This applies to my personal life and aspirations, not professional. I always work better when I’m working for someone else. Hence the inconsistency of every blog I’ve ever created. How am I working on it? I shared my personal deadlines and goals with at least one person I deeply trust, and believe me when I say they do not let me off the hook like I do. I am a procrastinator at best, and a total slacker at worst. Progress, not perfection.
I make so many friends that it overwhelms me.
Alright, this may sound like a fake problem BUT it’s not. Every time I meet someone I kind of click with, I put immense pressure on myself to keep in touch with them. The problem is, the pressure causes such intense anxiety that I end up self-sabotaging. How am I working on this? I very recently (literally, this week) decided who my real peeps are. Like, the ones who expand me, make me think bigger and deeper, whose values align with mine, are honest – sometimes brutally – and who bring energy into my life, rather than take it away. I’ve even created calendar reminders to reach out to these people, silly, but important!
I have a hard time speaking my truth when I know it contradicts the beliefs of others.
This is a deep one for me, guys. It’s the one that eats me up at night. It makes me feel weak. Learning to speak my mind after being brainwashed not to hurt other people’s feelings is my killer. In my teens I learned to tip toe around certain friends and family. I internalized this to mean that avoiding conflict is more important than my boundaries and truth. How am I working on this? I remind myself that people’s reactions to me are not my responsibility. Every time I feel myself shut down, I take deep breaths then speak slowly to the person. It’s nerve racking, but I usually walk away with a deeper sense of self-respect. I share this fear with my husband, and he encourages me. Oh, and P.S. thanks to the French culture, I’m recognizing that disagreement doesn’t equal disdain for that person. Curiosity over judgment.
My body is both my best friend and worst enemy.
Do I need to say it? Growing up as a girl in North America…? Being sexualized, body dysmorphia and dissociation? There’s a new trending hashtag: #hipdips. It amazes me that the one single thing that made me feel like less of a woman is a natural, anatomical occurrence. And guess what, in my life, I’ve received more reasons to hate my body than I have not to. Imagine the effort to unwind that? How am I working on this? Wiping my belief system clean. Redefining what it is to be a woman to me (as this is an individual journey). Recognizing my power. Affirmations. Reconnecting with my body through pleasure and movement I enjoy (not focusing on exercise that “reshapes” me). Being realistic, not negative, with myself. Only consuming media that represents actual people!
All of That to Say
I am happy. More importantly, I am at peace with myself. I learned in my mid-twenties the difference between the two, and its significance. Happiness is fluid. Without the dark, you would not know the light. Without the struggle, you’d have no strength. Peace, on the other hand, is a constant. A critical one. The question is where does it come from, how do people find it?
Not in videos of rooftops. Not in fashion magazines or wallets. It’s much more profound than that. I read this quote once that, for me, sums up the average modern-day human: we compare our behind-the-scenes to everyone else’s highlight reel. So, then, what’s the first true step?
You have to answer that for yourself. For me though, it’s seeing the world we’re currently living in and recognizing that there’s as much pain as there is joy. That you aren’t alone in either of those categories, but to eliminate the prior you must draw from that which brings you the latter. That hiding from others, from yourself, isn’t the answer. In fact, it’s the antithesis.
Why am I sharing this with you? Read the title, friend. I believe it’s true.
With love and peace,
Tell me, where could you be more vulnerable, put more of your energy, let go or draw in? I want to know!
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