Thursday, March 18, 2010

Knowing Myself

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.

Wow.

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.

Write on!

28 comments:

Bethany Elizabeth said...

Wow - your honesty here is so encouraging and refreshing. I have to admit, I'm still not entirely sure who I am, and I'm still playing with different ideas. I know I love writing, but I also love puzzles (math in my future?), taking pictures, dancing, learning instruments, learning anything.
But one thing's for sure; life is beautiful for everyone who has the sense to love it.
Thank you for this post, it's such an encouragement.

Catherine Kariaxi said...

*laughs* I'm not exactly timid, but I think I would have been flabbergasted and speechless if somebody looked at me and declared me a writer. :)

Lemme see... my inner identity is an eccentric but pretty old lady who lives in a crooked house, wakes up early most days to sit and write on a flower-patterned couch with a homemade knitted quilt thrown over the back. When she is not writing, she will be walking through the woods with an impressive wooden cane, and there will always be five or six dogs and two cats trailing around after her.

Hehheheh. <- I'm not old yet, have a day job, and I only have two dogs and one cat... but when I'm on my own time and free, I do embrace that happy old lady side of me.

I wrote over on my blog this morning that I looked in the mirror at myself today and realized I am comfortable and happy in my skin. I know who I am.

V.R. Leavitt said...

This is a great post!! I'm also finally getting to a place where I'm confident in being the real me, instead of the person I think others want me to be. I gotta say my biggest inspiration is my daughter. She's six and just doesn't give a rip about what other people think. However she strikes a good balance being herself, but still following the rules when she needs to, like at school, etc.

She's just as comfortable and happy with herself as any person can be, even when her peers think and express that she's a little off kilter. It's refreshing to see that kind of freedom.

Here's to all of us finding our real selves.

And those hippie pants are fabulous. :-)

Tami said...

I'm at the hazy period where I'm learning who my Authentic Self is. That's okay, it's a fun journey.

What are the things that make me truly happy? That fill up that empty place in my soul that is sometimes so quiet I don't even realize it's there? What makes me feel confident and joyful?

I sometimes wonder, if I sat down with ten-years-ago-me and had a chat, what would young-me think about now-me?

And what would now-me think of ten-years-from-now me?

Maybe future-me will have the tiny farm I've always wanted. A shaggy horse with dinner-plate hooves and gentle eyes. Dogs the size of ponies, marmalade tabbies chasing mice, and soft-eyed sheep, wool bristling with stray bits of straw. House rabbits thumping happily as they chase the dogs through the hallways and a sun-filled room with colorful rag rugs and a creaking rocking chair just for reading.

Maybe that's me. I don't know yet, but I'm enjoying the journey to find out.

Falen said...

Holy cow those pants look AWESOME!
also i was just wondering the other day if i express my authentic self on my blog? I think it's a bit of hit and miss for me

Lara said...

The annoying thing about finding your authentic self midstream, is that now I don't know what to do with the old self. How do I quit the job I can't stand to write all the time when I won't be able to pay my rent? I am at least lucky that I have wonderful friends who support and revel in the authentic self and do everything they can to encourage it, so I'm not stifled in all areas. Just between 8:30 and 5 Monday through Friday. ;)

Trish said...

Well I was happy and thought I was part of this community too, but I'm feeling a little left out today because I was the only poster to receive no critique from The Secret Agent.
I’m post 19.

Bridget Chumbley said...

It's amazing how long it takes for some of us to feel comfortable in our own skin. I still have a few bugs to work out... but writing is very freeing and helps the real me shine through, even when I still have the desire to hide!

Great post, Authoress... thank you!

Krista V. (the former Krista G.) said...

Your husband is a soundtrack nerd, too?!?! (<-- Can't remember what that question mark/exclamation point combo's called, but it seemed appropriate.) And you're a writer. We must be kindred spirits, Authoress:)

Mind you, my husband doesn't write soundtracks (yet); he just listens to them. But if you want to see a certain movie to hear how Alexandre Desplat's score works in the film, and not to spend two and a half hours with a half-naked wolfpack, then I think you've definitely earned your Soundtrack Nerdiness Card:)

Krista V. (the former Krista G.) said...

Trish, I'm sure the Secret Agent's skipping yours was just a slip-up. I just checked your entry and noticed that there's now a Secret Agent crit at the bottom of the comments. The timestamp on it was twelve-twenty-something today, so you might want to check it out.

Trish said...

Thanks Krita V. I just recieved a message on one of the posts from Joanna, and I checked out my post. I feel like a goose now, but my finger was getting tired from hitting refresh and I'm such a spoiled brat.

Thanks Joanna and Authoress, and sorry for being such a pain in the butt. Well, Joanna pointed out it was St Patrick's day and the leaprechauns got in. Well my name is Patricia ans my father was Irish. Teehee.

I'll just go and drag my big green boot out of my mouth.

Alicia Gregoire said...

This is my favorite post here ever. Just reading it made me smile. I think it's because it's taken me awhile to get to my authentic self as well. I was stuck in a real stressful corporate-driven job when I finally said 'I'm done.' I quit that job and took a year off from full-time work to complete my novel.

Awesome pants, BTW. And I love the hand warmers too.

Trish said...

Now that I’ve gotten over my little tantrum, I’ll comment on your hat and pants, Authoress. I love them! I used to wear hippy florescent pants back in the late sixties and early seventies.

I love being a writer, and I know that one day, I’ll get published, I just don’t know when.

Recently, I had to go interstate to one of the cooler states. I saw this wonderful mohair coat in a vintage recycle shop. It was long, to the ground and had all the colours of the rainbow. When I tried it on, the woman behind the counter laughed at me. She said it was supposed to be calf length, to go with boots. As I’m only five ft nothing, It reached all the way to the ground. She didn’t want to sell it to me, but I bought it anyway. And I wore that beautiful, warm coat to the airport and on the plane too. I thought my husband would have laughed at me, but he loved it. I wonder if I look artsy in it.

I had to get into my fifties to find my authentic self, then I decided it's time for me now.

Great post, Authoress.

Feywriter said...

Lately I have been embracing the color pink. I'm no longer afraid of being labeled by it. I AM meant to be a writer. I need to stop letting that potential drown in doubt.

Jodi Meadows said...

I loff you. :D

samsevern said...

...As always, sweet Authoress, you have spoken to my heart! ㋡
THANK YOU!!
Wishing you a beautiful day today!

Tricia said...

I thought I was pretty well-adjusted until I saw those groovy pants and realized my life won't be complete until I have them.

I went to the website only to discover the 56.00 price tag is a little too steep for this starving artist. I'll have to wait awhile for life-completion. I did buy a groovy shirt for 28.00 dollars. I think you owe me. :-)

daniellemeitiv said...

I am so glad you found your authentic self - a woman destined to wear those cocoa hippie pants would be spiritually suffocated in Lands End! But I know what you mean about self and style. I finally stopped dressing like an androgynous tomboy and got a little girly in my groove - and I feel so much better!

Elana Johnson said...

This is such an inspiring post. It is true that we need to be authentic to ourselves. Glad you found, well, you!

Lyla said...

Great post... and I LOVE those pants!

Theresa Milstein said...

Authoress, It's nice to read such a personal post. I'm glad that you're living as the authentic you.

Too many of us try on hats that don't fit, in hopes that we please someone else or that it makes up the person we think we're supposed to be. It may seem like wasted years, but it's part of growing.

Just like life is a journey, so it writing. We've got to write a lot before we find our voice.

Anonymous said...

But how? How do you let go of "the things that rob you of your "selfness."
Everyone says just let it go, but they never tell you how.

mindmap1 said...

I've been 'lurking' authoress and shall lurk no more.

It's interesting isn't it that you've always been creative?

And reading the comments, most of us are too?

Things happen in life for a reason, perhaps a lesson to be learned? Experiences shape who and what we are, but finding your authentic self
is the greatest gift. Writing, it appears to me, is one way to connect with self, learning to live purely in the creative moment.

Love this blog and I'm spreading the word!

Christine

mindmap1 said...

I've been 'lurking' authoress and shall lurk no more.

It's interesting isn't it that you've always been creative?

And reading the comments, most of us are too?

Things happen in life for a reason, perhaps a lesson to be learned? Experiences shape who and what we are, but finding your authentic self
is the greatest gift. Writing, it appears to me, is one way to connect with self, learning to live purely in the creative moment.

Love this blog and I'm spreading the word!

Christine

Heather Kephart said...

Ooh, I love the pants AND the hat! I am always inspired when I read stories of people like you who shake and twist out of their false layers of growth as a dog extricates water from its fur.

I went through a similar experience after I had my son & left my job in finance. Once you start, the joy propels you. I am finally learning that it's not a matter of "finding ourselves", but rather returning to ourselves. We wear wearing many costumes during our young adulthoods. The lucky among us eventually take them off. We send them off to charity knowing they might be right for somebody else, and step back into the selves we were all along - selves that, as it turns out, weren't so bad after all.

Jemi Fraser said...

Congrats on finding yourself - that's not easy to do.

This is an awesome post - thank you!

beth said...

Yanno....those mitts are nice. But not *quite* as nice as mine....

;)

Authoress said...

LOL Beth! xoxo