“Be yourself; everybody else is already taken.” Oscar Wilde
I’ve been thinking about authenticity and what it means to live life from your true authentic self. I know, a pretty heavy topic, but these are the kinds of things I often think about : )
I started my coaching practice — bu coaching — to support and inspire others to live their life from an authentic place. To do this, we must connect to our authentic selves.
This is not easy.
Perhaps I’m pondering this, particularly today, because I am editing my memoir Junk Yard Girl where I share stories about the joys and trauma I experienced growing up smack dab in the middle of a junkyard in rural Connecticut in the 60s and 70s.
As I review and edit my stories, I’m naturally revisiting memories. Some memories are laugh-out-loud funny, and I can feel the joy lighten me up again as I read what I’ve written. I want my readers will feel that joy too. Other stories are pretty terrifying, and I work hard to stay in the scene to capture it just right for my readers.
I want to share the joys and the difficulties because I believe those dark moments of my life made me who I am today. They gave me strength and resilience, which inspired a creative spirit within me … that … well … I believed saved me. (You’ll have to read my book to learn more (ha!).
Each of us has memories that tie us to our past. Haven’t you heard a particular song come on, and it brings you instantly to a pastime complete with emotions and details of that event as if it was just yesterday? Or perhaps you have bits of memories that are like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle; you can make out the shapes but can’t seem to fit them together, as if you are missing some pieces.
Memories are funny like that. You and I could have been at the same event at the same time and remembered it entirely differently.
We see and experience the world through our unique lens. Our lens is comprised of our experiences (and the beliefs that often came from those experiences), our culture, and our family situation. Our conscious and unconscious beliefs also affect how we interpret what we experience.
This is where truth comes in. What is true?
In my quest to be truthful, I have spoken to many of my siblings to verify details. It is confusing because, on a few occasions, it feels like we must have lived with different families! It makes me question what the truth is.
My truth is that I want to share my story — keyword, MY story.
I’ve had to decide to own my truth and stick to my story.
I am writing my book to share what my life was like growing up in the middle of a junkyard. My readers will meet the crazy cast of characters I was exposed to and experience how my creativity sparked a resilience allowing me to survive childhood trauma to live the life I now lead. I want to inspire others to know from an authentic place that despite whatever challenges they face, it is possible to mine those shiny bits, confront the darker times of our lives, and come out in a place of strength and healing.
I have found that we can only appreciate the light after sitting in the dark.
“Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all the darkness.” Desmond Tutu
While I refine the words in my stories – especially those where I attempt to share traumatic moments that have taken me a lifetime to unravel and come to terms with – I can’t question these memories – but offer them up in my stories as I remember them. Still, I am confronted with doubt. I wonder — Did this happen? Have I convinced myself this happened? Am I making this up?
I dance with doubt continuously as I recall events of my life and capture them in the stories I share in my book. I want my reader to feel what I felt – to step into my life for a page or two.
I want you to see my truth. To see me.
Yes, truth is messy, but it holds our salvation.
By writing my truth, I have come to peace with my past. I can appreciate all that happened in my life — the good, the bad, and the ugly. Tapping into my history from the perspective of who I am today grounds me to my truth. My life experiences are my truth, no matter how much they may differ from what others may remember. My stories – in whatever way I may internalize them – ARE what make me who I am today, and, quite frankly, I turned out to be a good and decent person.
I wonder and suspect that many of us — especially if we have suffered from some childhood trauma or some wrong that has been done to us — struggle with what is the truth. Maybe it’s because we don’t want to accept the horrible things that happened to us, or there is something inside us that is blocking us from moving on and healing. Sometimes we have to minimize the hurt and trauma to get on with life.
I have spent years with all kinds of therapy to safely explore and heal the trauma and ultimately arrive at the healthy place I am in today.
So to write my memoir, I’ve had to accept the truth as I remember it. To own my own story and trust that how I remember events in my life is my truth.
Do you struggle with what is true? I believe that to live an authentic life; we must settle into our truth to honor and live life from our authentic selves. From this place, we know our truth and live it.
Finding Our truth is not easy. Is it?
I hope you can find yours just as I am discovering mine.