Authenticity or a Chameleon
This story was submitted anonymously to the How We Show Up collection as part of the July SEEQ sessions.
Authenticity is something that I have always struggled with yet would be described by almost everyone that knows me as being extremely genuine and authentic. Although I have a very strong personality, seem to have a lot of confidence and am a quick learner, I consider myself a chameleon in almost every social interaction or relationship. As a young girl I would pick the people or group I wanted to be like or looked up to and would adapt my clothing, style, language, perspective and interests to feel accepted by them. Once I figured out my “new identity” based on that, I was very conscious of being loving and accepting to everyone around me. This meant, I would temporarily pick up slices of their identity and add it to mine. After years of repeating this process, I’ve realized that I have many identities, all of which are authentic and adaptable based on the people I’m interacting with. Recently, I was laid off from a company I had been pursuing a career with since I was 20. I’m now 32 and have spent several months reflecting on the past 12 years. I realize now that I had based my main identity around my career and the company. Since that is suddenly no longer a part of my life, I realize I get the chance to recreate myself and re-establish my identity. This is a situation that could be life shattering, and, in a sense, it has been. I have been doing some soul searching to really decipher which characteristics of each of the identities I’ve “put on” over my life are truly authentic to me, rather than ones I have “acquired” as I encounter other people/groups. My goal is to not entirely redefine myself and my identity, but to figure out who I authentically am and work on strengthening that. This has proven to be a very challenging task as it requires me being brutally honest with myself. Out of this reestablishing identity and authenticity-seeking process I can report that each of us as human beings have multi-faceted personalities/identities. We are complex, intelligent and diverse. Just because we allow one person or group to see a side of us another person/group has not seen before, doesn’t make it fake or Inauthentic. I am challenging myself and others to strive for authenticity and embrace it although it can appear differently in many ways.