Tl;dr: I’m striving to live more authentically. Email me! =)
Oh how I wish that wasn’t such a cliché. There are so many things I wanted to share with you, but this topic is really a message to myself.
Being honest with others is important, but being honest with yourself has to come first and is probably harder. Admitting when I’m wrong, my bad habits like procrastination, or that I’ve been making excuses is uncomfortable, but it’s ok to experience discomfort. Confronting my true feelings on others, how I want to spend my time, or what my big dreams are without disclaimers, is more than a worthy goal. It’s key to living “true to myself”.
Probably the hardest thing I’ve had to admit to myself that I grew up with an alcoholic. Although I dealt with the repercussions of that every day, it was a long, slow process to accept as truth. It’s still hard to talk about, but now that I can, it frees me to ask myself how I really feel about it and address the consequences.
One consequence was that I became a people-pleaser, worrying more about what others wanted than what I needed. It took me a long time to realize you don’t have to try to please everyone. Steps to independence have made it easier to feel, voice, and assert my needs. After high school, I practiced ‘being rude’ as a way of rebelling against people-pleasing. In college I began to spend my breaks the way I wanted to. As I’ve become an independent adult, I’ve realized all the choices I’m lucky to have: where I live, what I do for a living, who to include in my self made family. Lately I’ve been asking everyone around me for their opinions on decisions I need to make, from trivial to important, but the key to making decisions lies in knowing myself better.
I’m thinking a lot about living authentically because of my biological father. I only first met him recently. He sent child support growing up, but nothing else as far as I knew. I’m easy to find and contact on the web, but I never heard a peep from him until I sent him a random facebook message – just short update on my life, as I thought he was not interested. I was shocked to receive a long, gushing reply telling me how much he had longed to communicate with me all those years. Ever since, I have been wondering what really stopped him when it was so easy before, and when all it took was one small prompt to open the floodgates from him of stories and hopes. He has his excuses but he knows they’re just that. Learning more about him and the ghostly presence I’ve apparently had in his life, I’ve imagined how different things could have been and still could be if he could be honest with himself, and then with people in his life, about me and probably many other things too.
I’d like to come back to this email in a year and see if I followed my own advice. How do you keep yourself honest? Please write back! A couple other things we can chat about:
What’s your favorite band to see live? I’m a show fiend.
Brazilian percussion. Check out The Handphibians!
German Wheel. Average people can learn awesome new skills, at places like Madison Circus Space.
Computer Science. I know a lot of you are techies out there. I’ve got a hypothesis about how we can increase diversity in the field. What’s your idea?