First

My friends Robert has just purchased his first car, it is blue and has two seats. My first car was a racing green Triumph Dolomite and she was beautiful. Until she rusted, when another whole Dolomite was bought to replace the bits on her that were turning that glorious shade of orange. I then gave up both cars as a bad job and bought another Dolomite with slightly less ‘flake’ about it. This one also went to the great garage in the sky and I then got a more modern car which I didn’t fear for when the air outside became damp. But my first car, she was beautiful in a way that no other car since has been. Firsts are important.

I remember my first pair of trainers (bought from a catalogue) and they were Reeboks, my first jeans (Levi), my first ‘designer’ t-shirt (poco loco) and the first time I tried sun dried tomatoes (mana from heaven!). I then pondered if things that aren’t firsts ever have the same sort of impact?

I then remembered a particularly spirited discussion I had with someone. I have been something of a Nirvana fan since my teens (when Kurt Cobain was still breathing) although I never saw them live, which retrospectively was a disappointment. I made the statement that seeing a band live was the most authentic experience that you could have of them. The other person contended that a fan is a fan, irrespective of anything else.

Being a fan in that ‘first wave’ is more authentic experience than what future generations could have. This isn’t to say that supporting any band that is no longer in existence makes you less of a fan (most of what I listen to isn’t exactly ‘current’) but being around at the same time as a particular band does give you a different appreciation. You are living through the rest of what is being offered in the current music scene, along side the current political and social scenes as well. Retrospectively we can all have an appreciation, but it will never be the same experience as living through something. It is a different sort of ‘first’.

Then I think back to my car, and realise how different material things are to experiences that we have. I wasn’t the first person to own the car, didn’t own the car when they were first released and were a common sight, so I guess that I lost out on the camaraderie of that. Which would make my friend right, as I likely loved my car as much as everyone else who owned it. But the experiences that I have had, the bands I have seen live, this will always be a more authentic experience to me than anything second hand can create.

The older I get, the more I value authentic experiences. Maybe this is a mirror. The closer I get to my authentic self, the more I crave this same immediacy elsewhere.

Map Point. What is my definition of authenticity?

 

 

 

Promising me

A couple of nights ago, I had a moment of clarity, my prevailing thought was ‘I think of myself as unassuming, but in reality, I am anything but’. I think of myself as quiet, as unobtrusive. Maybe this is my way of trying to negate myself. Maybe this is me remembering who I thought that I was.

I am clearly very attached to the person that I was. I have kept the familiarity of that emotional place without realising quite how much I have changed. I know that I do express myself more authentically now, so I think it’s likely time to change my mindset. Make my headspace match what is actually happening in my reality.

I don’t dress particularly wildly, but I guess to a degree I am developing my own style. Knee high socks are a recurring feature as are knee length skirts. Vest tops are still worn well into winter. The last one I have become somewhat infamous for. I am also proud of my selection of coats, but these are rarely seen owing to the vest tops in November thing but know that I do have some truly fabulous items of outerwear. But it isn’t that my physical appearance has changed so massively. It’s that I now have a passion for my clothing choices.

I am also a quiet person. Usually, my headspace feels like a storage facility for filing that has just experienced a small localised hurricane. But I am not always quiet. I know that I still don’t speak so much and find it hard to compete to make my voice heard. But I am more okay with this now. If people value me, they will allow me space to find my words. And if not, I am good with that too.

I recognise my own strength so much more now. It’s strange to feel comfortable being me. It can be hard for me to see any value that others place in me, but I am improving. I am promising myself that.

Map Point. What am I scared to show others?

 

Authenticity for the win

Thinking about writing this blog has been an interesting process. It gives me the discipline to write every day, and I know what I want to write about, but thinking about my level of honesty has been interesting.

If I write everything from the point of view of friends that I have known, or people that I have worked with then although I may be saying exactly what I want, it is not me. I understand that these are good masks people use to tell their own stories, but they lack immediacy, they lack authenticity.

There are many things that I have experienced that I have learnt a good deal from. And although I think there is likely a benefit that other people could gain from reading this; there is also the counter weight of how much of myself I want to put into a public domain.

Social media gives us the opportunity to share our lives in terms of immediate thoughts, the music we like, the workouts we have done and the photos that we have taken. This gives us the most amazing ways to communicate with our friends, our peers. However, in terms of authenticity and the honesty of our intentions, the situation becomes somewhat darker. Does the photo of our food in a restaurant really indicate that we need some attention, do ‘likes’ equal endorsement? Do the congratulations on our five-mile run give us the validation to keep going? I don’t know if there was a definitive point whereby our actions needed social endorsement. Maybe this has always been the case, we like approval for our actions, but does this ease of validation from others become a replacement for us doing this for ourselves?

Self-validation, boosting our own self-esteem can be difficult sometimes, but it is a necessary skill to acquire. It gives us possibility. But how does this increased self-esteem link to authenticity? Essentially, the more I am me, the less I want to be anyone else! When I felt low, I mirrored others, I was avoidant, I did many things to avoid being me. But then things changed, or rather I enacted change, and now I don’t want to talk through the words of others. Authenticity is important.

This blog will be harsh and bold. I will be harsh and bold. And there are somethings which will be hard to talk about and that is okay, but I promise myself this, I have worked hard to get to where I am, and I am not going to sell myself short in my words.

Map Point. How can I increase my authenticity?