If you haven’t read the Part I of Authenticity is Self-Care, then go check that out first. I love that post because it pissed off someone that hollered like a hit dog. It made me realize I was probably on to something.
Black women don’t get to be their authentic selves without being bullied into believing THEY are a bully or worse, ghetto/low-class/ratchet. Considering I don’t see any issue with the latter, I’d rather you’d mind your business and let me be. I live all the way out loud.
If we didn’t already know this, the pandemic has driven home that life is too short. I used to worry a lot about what people think about me and would be stressed about embarrassing people I sought approval from. Hello, social anxiety.
There are too many damn people in the world with too many damn opinions and arbitrary standards with ever-moving goal posts. There is no way you will satisfy even some of the people some of the time. You will never feel at peace.
Authenticity is Self-Care: The Origins
In part one, I talk about how I stay authentic to how I want to express myself with my changing hairstyles. The reason behind it is much bigger than just wanting to wear blues and greens for people to comment on in the workplace. As a teenage growing up in a Black Christian Pentecostal purified tradition, I had very little control over my self-expression lest it be considered “worldly”, “sinful”, or “Jezebel” behavior. Once I was old enough to use my own money to pay for my hair, it felt good to take control of some aspect of myself. Eventually, it became an expression of the fact that I was a woman belonging to herself and not a church body, her parents, a potential partner that didn’t even exist, nor the kids I didn’t aspire to have.
I soon carried this idea over into authentically sharing my truth, regardless of who else was part of the story. That meant not keeping silent in the face of mistreatment or abuse for the sake of saving face for anyone else. That’s when I started blogging. Soon, I would find that people were thanking me for my openness about my experiences with mental health struggles, past relationships, and my rough educational pursuits. Holding my pain and anger in my chest did not serve me. Our silence makes us sick. Sharing our stories promotes healing about a community of people. I’ve seen it time and time again.
Once I started sharing what was true to me, my whole life felt lighter.
Choose Authenticity as Self- Care
Being and sharing authentically rarely ever means polished. It doesn’t mean your way is the only way. It simply means that you do what is true to your being. Doing what doesn’t feel forced or take energy that you have to work hard to replenish. Existing in the world in a way that comes naturally to your soul existence.
How much less anxiety would you experience if you didn’t have to invest time and energy into hiding any part of yourself that you naturally engage behind closed doors?
Being authentic to who you are is an amazing way to prioritize and take care of yourself. It requires that you become in tune with how you truly desire to be.
Pat’s Authenticity Principles
- I own all parts of myself
- I am who I am, no matter who is watching
- My actions match my values
- I communicate what I won’t compromise
- I put myself and my needs first.