The Art of Authenticity


If you would have asked me 10 yrs old was I living an Authentic life I would have said Absolutely!  If you would have asked me two weeks ago I would have given you the same answer.  However, something has changed in my life that has caused me to re-evaluate my answer to that question.  What has changed?  Well I actually looked up the definition of the words Authentic and Authenticity.   This is what I found:
Definition: genuineness
Synonyms: accuracy, correctness, credibility, dependability, factualness, legitimacy, purity, realness, reliability, trustworthiness, truthfulness, validity, veritableness

Well the truth is I don't fully meet any of these adjectives.  I'm not always dependable because I'm late or I don't check schedules and I drop the ball on commitments.  I have lied by omission. (A lie is a lie even if it is by omission.)  (An Example about me lying about my weight) I found myself recently in a situation where I didn't realize that one small untruth would actually be compounded over time and end up being bigger than I thought so I came clean and by doing so lost credibility which is the by product of untruthfulness. After thinking about these situations I knew I wanted to obtain this thing called Authenticity.


I "really" began to ask myself how do I live out this in my life from today and that terrified me.  So I prayed as I normally do when faced with life's situations. "God you really want me to come out of hiding about my struggles and demons? You mean I have to reveal things about myself that I'm not even ready to reveal to myself in private... but now publicly?"  Its funny that the answer God always gives us usually makes us  more uncomfortable because growth is often uncomfortable, humbling, and at times down right painful. To become the Real Roschelle I needed have an authentic process in order to achieve authenticity at the end. It meant me opening up about a lot of stuff that I wasn't ready to face or at the least be "Genuine" about.  It meant exposing a lot of "proverbial demons"  and removing the power that they had when they were hidden. (Fear, Shame, Self Doubt, low self esteem, pride, people pleasing, etc)  If I'm going to truly help people  know that God's Grace is the way I must start walking in that knowledge for myself. That's been the biggest step in my journey.   Thank you God for the courage to do it.

The 1st area of living out true Authenticity: From People-Esteem or Self-Esteem to God-Esteem.  

I have lived most of my life caring more about people's opinions  and wanting their approval that it caused me alter my values and compromise myself (values, morals, standards, etc).  It still has been a  huge crutch for me wondering about others thought about me because I "needed" that reassurance to feel ok or valued.  It is still a fight within me to push past that need of others people's approval for me to know that I'm  whole and complete.  A good girlfriend  shared with something from the Big Book in AA " That its none of your business what others think of you." Its only your business to live what you think about yourself."  Easier said than Done :).   So I project this strong black nothing can stop me because I'm "Super Buppie" (Black Young Urban Professional) or "Huxtable" image.  When I still struggle with image of  everything looking like "Cosby Show" on the outside when it feels more like "The Roseanne Show" on the inside.  

I like metaphors so bear with me as I explain in-depth.   I've always known that I had this three staging areas of my life. The Front stage, Backstage, and Innermost stage.  The front-stage curtains are drawn so no one could really see the mess I was keeping in  the back staging area.  This is where I lived 80% of my life.  Really concerned about the Front to keep people from snooping too close to those ropes that would pull the curtains open on my insecurities and normal life mess. 

Then my Backstage is like that junk closet in your house where you throw everything in it that you don't have the time to get rid of or sort out.  It is the door your afraid a guest will open and get hit by the loads of stuff that might fall on them.   (I hope I'm explaining this and not confusing you with my imagery.. darn there I go with that self-doubt thing again.   I digressed.) When I would find the courage to open up this area of my life to others some people only wanted to come and view to spread to others about my mess.  Some people would see my junk and jump in there to assist in the clean up and let me know that I wasn't alone in the mess.  What were some of the messes or as I called them "My Hot Messes": self doubt, marital problems, weight struggles, grief, shame, fear, sexual abuse survivor, in-laws or out-law issues etc.)  

Then there is my Innermost stage. This space is only big enough for me and God.  There is no room for any of my coverings or baggage.  Its just me "Naked" before God.  It is in this place that I found myself a few weeks ago when I knew I had to start living a truly Authentic life.  Not just before God but before the world everyday.  This is when I truly moved from People-Esteem or Self-Esteem, and stepped into God-Esteem.  

I have to be truthful that I sometimes feel like I'm Faking it or Portraying a"Pseudo" version of this God Esteem on occasions because my "Emotions and Feelings" don't match the "Truth or Knowledge" I've obtain.  Where I know the biblical principles or versus and can quote them I have yet to experience the feeling or emotion of that principle. I'm waiting for the feelings to match my knowledge.   "I am moving forward from today towards an Authentic (Public, Private, Spiritual) Life even if it means I do it afraid."