Are you living the most authentic life possible, Pinkies? I thought I was until three years ago, when suddenly, my life came crashing down on me and I realized I didn’t remotely recognize my life- or myself. I kept thinking, “How did I end up here?” And so a transformation began to unfold in me, and with it, my authentic self began to creep out, inch by nervous inch.
What about you? Does your work bring out the best in you? Are you doing what comes easily, naturally, happily- authentically? Or is your work sucking the soul out of you? Are you able to truly let your hair down in your relationship? Can you listen to sappy love songs while dressing in muumuus and drinking mint juleps, because, by golly, that’s just who you are (and are you saying “by golly” or are you squelching your inner voice so that it sounds cooler or more appropriate)? Have you found your tribe where you live, or are you surrounded by Pod People who can’t possibly relate to who you are and what you’re thinking? Do you wonder what your kids or your church or your boss would do if they knew the real you? Do you have any clue who the real you really is?
If you’re nodding your head right about now, listen up. I’ve learned a few things in the past three years, and I’m grateful I figured this out in my thirties, rather than my eighties. I feel blessed that my Personal Storm knocked me out of my complacency and made me realize that you only get one chance in this lifetime, and do I really want to waste another day not being who I really am? Not me, girlfriends (and Pink Gods!) I made a pledge a while back that I was going to make every effort, from this day forth, to be ALL LISSA, ALL THE TIME. Before that, I felt like I had to wear “hats” or, more accurately, masks. When wearing my doctor hat, I had to wear a white coat, avoid swearing, sound intelligent, and stand on my pedestal, far from where others could reach me (after all, that’s what they taught me in medical school- that I needed to maintain professional distance so my patients will respect me). While wearing my artist hat, I had to dress funky, be flaky, sound creative, and be “deep.” When wearing my Mommy hat, I’m supposed to instantly know how to relate to kids, carry organic snacks everywhere, show up at preschool gatherings looking rested, athletic, and unfazed by the fact that my kid puked all over me the previous night – not to mention bring unfettered volunteer efforts to every kiddie project. In my wife hat, I’m to be lovingly available, endlessly sexy, intellectually challenging, and ever-present. To publishers, I’m supposed to be a dedicated writer who plays by the rules, self-promotes, makes myself vulnerable (but not too much so), and tells the truth- but only a wee little bit of my truth- maybe more of the truth everyone else wishes was true.
(I’ve screamed that from the top of my lungs dozens of times. I highly recommend it. Find a quiet place. Take off all your hats. And just scream the bejeezus out of your lungs. Ahhhh….okay. Better now.)
But enough yada yada yada. What have I learned over the past few years? Here are some tips to scooch you a little closer toward living an authentic life.
This is so much fun. My authentic self is getting so riled up writing this post that I’m trying to listen closely and interpret what she’s saying. Would I rather be a life coach than a gynecologist? Dunno. Better ask my best friend to let me be myself for an hour and see what comes up!
What about you, Pinkies? What does your authentic self have to say? Are you listening? We invite you to be real here at Owning Pink. Tell us your truth (even if you have to do it under an assumed name- I swear, we won’t out you!)
With all of me front and center,
PS. Joy just stumbled across this poem (her authentic self talking, I think) and we wanted to share it:
LISTEN TO THE MUSTN'TS-
By Shel Silverstein
Listen to the MUSTN'TS, child,
Listen to the DON'TS
Listen to the SHOULDN'TS
The IMPOSSIBLES, the WON'TS
Listen to the NEVER HAVES
Then listen close to me --
Anything can happen, child
ANYTHING can be.
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