authentic.

i think i can pretty confidently say that for the last decade i haven’t been one hundred percent authentic. i think i have hidden much of who i am and how i feel underneath thick layers of shame and guilt. i think my mental health journey has kept me out of the limelight and i have maintained a low profile.

my quest for authenticity began not too long ago. my anxiety was waking me in the dead of night and i was desperate to know if other people felt crippled by life’s offerings sometimes. misery loves company; and while i wasn’t miserable, i was hoping to find someone who felt the same. just so i could claim my sanity and know i wasn’t radically off base. i started blogging last summer and i never really thought i would gain such an audience. because the truth is, i have always been a nobody. a fade into the background, seen but not heard kind of person. i have lived the better part of my life shoving everything deep down inside; piling feelings on top of memories on top of anxiety topped with grief and a sprinkling of not good enough. i have squished things so deeply that i sometimes forget they still exist; lingering in a back corner. but when you fade into the backdrop; you get stepped on a lot. your invisibility lends itself to people forgetting your worth. people have walked all over me for the better half of my life. stepping lightly some years and straight hiking across me others. it’s broken my heart. it’s dented my soul. but i continue to rise. so when i started this blog, it was just after the end of two monumental friendships. and i realized that i just didn’t want to be that girl anymore. i didn’t want to be a sidewalk; with the cracks spreading further each time someone took a leap. i wanted more for myself and i wanted to step out of the shadows.

in a lot of ways, this experience, the ability to eloquently share my feelings and experiences, has healed me. i feel less alone. i feel like i have validated a lot along the way. and i don’t feel so bottled up anymore. because when you squish things down, day after day, year after year; eventually, you run out of room. the bottle swells and the lid pops off. words and emotions and feelings pour out. unfiltered and messy. and rarely are you sitting in a therapist’s office when it happens.

my blog feels enlightening and it feels powerful. probably because it’s the most authentic thing i have done in years. probably because it’s honest. hell, probably because it sparks something. there is something about authenticity that is crucial. to be authentic is to be yourself and i can honestly say that i wasn’t doing much of that until now. i have known sadness just as well as i have known happiness and darkness and grief. i know myself better than anyone else. and i know that i need to be more like the girl i shoved aside; for i feared she would be a failure or a disappointment or an embarrassment. but let me tell you, that girl, the one who faded into the back; she’s something fierce. she’s something real. and she’s about as authentic as they come. and that scares the hell out of everyone.

but i am here for it. she’s a warrior. and she is stretching her legs, preparing for battle. life is unfair. life is unkind. but if you stop and give a nod of approval to the person you shoved aside, there will be a healing that’s bigger than you know.

there is something to be said about being authentic. being who you really are. saying how you really feel. without the shame or anxiety or guilt. there is something to be said about being authentic. being who you actually are. without closeting the parts that feel awkward or uncomfortable or judged. there is something to be said about being authentic. without shoving everything you are into a bottle and sealing it with wax. there is something to be said about being authentic. and i am here to say it; whatever you’re hiding about who you really are. give it up. let it be known. free the hidden.

stop being who you were and become who you are. authenticity is going to cost you: in things, in opportunities and in people; but if you are owning you true self, that’s all you’ll ever need.

this blog is a testament to who i am becoming, who i am pulling up from the shadows. it’s my journey, and as always- you are welcome to walk alongside. but it’s not a must. so if you are annoyed or irritated by who i am or you feel some type of way about who i have become, there’s a way around it all. you don’t have to read it at all.

xo.

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