There's an interesting and unexpected aspect of my anonymous life that I've got to point out. I am, as Authoress, my Authentic Self.
It's sad, how many people never find their Authentic Selves. It's sad, how long it took ME to find mine. I started writing when I was six, but lost my way by the time I went to college. Majoring in music was exhilarating and fulfilling, to be sure.
But it wasn't RIGHT. It wasn't my number one "thing."
And in finding my Authentic Self--writer, self-proclaimed whole foods hippie--I find that the way I present myself to others is a clear expression of who I am. Online, that's immeasurably easier. Despite the fact that I have chosen to remain nameless and faceless, I am as transparent and honest as I can possibly be.
I am, without a doubt, ME.
It's freeing, it's "right." It brings me joy.
But it isn't just through the Authoress persona that I find myself freed. More and more, every day, I am living life as ME. And it's awesome.
A few years ago, I bought something at a department store. (I hate department stores, so that was a little out of character.) The guy at the counter was the chatty extrovert type. After a minute or so of chattiness, he studied me briefly.
"Let's see. You must be an artist...or a writer."
"Why, yes! Yes, I'm a writer!" Was there a pencil sticking out of my ear? Or was it the glasses? "How--how could you tell?"
"Oh, you've just got that look, you know? That artsy look."
Get that! I had THAT ARTSY LOOK. The look that says, "I create! I'm right-brained!"
Mind you, I went through a long period of not knowing who I was when it came to wardrobe. We're talking Lands End. As in, I would buy stuff because I was into the high quality cotton, and Mr. A would say, "Um. That clothing is so fuddy-duddy."
And I was offended. Offended! Maybe I should have LISTENED. Maybe I should NOT have worn clothing that was meant for people 30 years older.
But I must give myself grace. I hadn't found my Authentic Self.
Now I've got my heart set on a pair of these:
AWESOME COCOA HIPPIE PANTS
Can't afford them, but at least I know what I like.
Then there's my pair of awesome fingerless mittens knit by the amazing Jodi Meadows. Last night I posted a picture on Twitter of me, wearing them:
AUTHORESS IN A DIFFERENT HAT WITH JODIMITTS
That hat? It's my favorite. I wear it a lot. A few years ago? It wouldn't have crossed my mind to wear a hat like that.
You may hate it, which is fine. It's "me." It's authentic.
Wearing things that express who I am feels GOOD. It may have taken me awhile to get here, but now that I've arrived, I'm not leaving.
Loss of Authentic Self is an epidemic. The high percentage of people who hate their jobs--really HATE them--is a result of these people not having discovered who they Really Are before beginning their careers. You know those stories you read about corporate managers who leave it all behind and move onto goat farms and become blissfully happy? We may shake our heads or sigh or judge harshly. But when we stop and think about it, the truth leaks in. This man has FOUND himself. This man is TRULY LIVING HIS LIFE now. Without the six-figure paycheck and blood-pressure-raising commute and seventy-hour work week.
I'm not completely there. I'm not bringing in a paycheck as a writer--yet. And Mr. A isn't completely there, either. He's got an amazing, well-paying job that's he good at, managing people he actually enjoys being around. But I know his Authentic Self. He is a gifted producer. He has a passion for writing soundtracks. He loves ministering to other men to help them find THEIR Authentic Selves. And he's working on his first picture book.
Yes. We're both "artsy." And my dream is for us to live that artsy-ness to its fullest.
So. You, there, writers at large. Is writing your Authentic Self? DON'T LET GO. Live it. Work hard, learn, grow, BE a writer. Every day. Search your heart regularly for the things that bring you joy and contentment, in writing and in life. Let go, little by little, of the things that rob you of your "selfness."
EXULT in who you were created to be.
I'm thankful for the privilege of writing words that might speak to you today. And I'm thankful to be among so many who share my passion.