My most authentic self
This story was submitted anonymously to the How We Show Up collection as part of the July SEEQ sessions.
Thinking about my identity, I’ve realized that I tend to compartmentalize my life and, to that end, my identity as well. I see myself as husband and father, as business professional, and lastly as a musician. How authentic I feel in each of these three identities is very different. But I think I feel most relaxed and confident as a father and husband, and I think that’s my most authentic self. When I am with my family, I don’t feel shame or doubt or anxiety. I feel fully supported and loved. One clear moment of my authentic self that comes to mind as father is being in our backyard pool with my kids on a hot summer day. I’m like a magnet for their little bodies as they wrap themselves around my neck. I am safe harbor in the “deep end”. They pull on me in opposite directions. It’s uncomfortable but their faces are lit with joy as I twist and spin dive and rise, pretending to shake them off. The sounds of their giggles bounce off the water, mingling with cheesy jimmy buffet songs on the Bluetooth speaker. In any other context, I’d be a total dork, but here and with my people, I’m the most awesome man on the planet. “Throw me dad” the littlest ones cry, and I smile from deep in my soul as I watch them fly through the air, with uncertain terror turned quickly to unbelievable joy as they safely splash down, their happy screams enveloped by the water. My older kids think they are too cool for all this commotion, until I grab one, she’s a mature twelve, and I spin her around in a playful waltz humming whatever waltzy tunes come to mind. The indifferent look in her eyes is quickly replaced by a smile as bright as the sun over our heads. In this moment, I don’t give a shit about how successful I am, how fit I am, how smart I am or ‘who’ I am… I just am. I feel weightless and free, full of love, fulfilled.