Real Talk: Change and Authenticity

India Arie said, “the only thing constant in this world is change” and that quote has stuck with me for years. I used it as my high school yearbook quote way back in 2005, and I had no idea the magnitude of those words at that time. 

Back in 2014, I shared an intimate blog post using those words as the title when I announced I was getting a divorce. That was by far one of the hardest and most vulnerable blog posts that I’ve ever written. Now in 2018, I’m writing a new blog post with a similar theme, but my world is drastically different. I’ve made a point of writing content that’s valuable, actionable, and insightful on MY – but I’ve also made a vow to be honest and share lessons learned from past experiences. 

My life has changed dramatically in 4 short years. But, I’ve never felt more authentically myself.

Authenticity was something I didn’t really understand throughout high school, college, and probably all the way up to 4 years ago. It was “something” that the “cool girls” possessed that I just didn’t have. It’s what makes you dance like no one is watching in a crowded room. It’s what makes you speak up when there may be unfavorable consequences.

It’s also what makes you – you.

I didn’t think that I had it within me. I always felt like I had to guard the real me to avoid judgement. The real me was kept hidden and I would spend time thinking about when she’d be able to make her debut. And of course, the stars, moon, planets, and the entire free world would have to perfectly align in order for that to happen.

I never would have imagined that dramatic change would bring authenticity to me without knowing it was “safe”. I have no idea if this is “normal”, but I feel like it’s what needed to happen for me. 

One of my favorite books is Broken Open by Elizabeth Lesser, which is all about going through a difficult time and how those times have the potential to help us grow. For me, this is very true. I remember telling myself several times that if this was what God destined to happen to me, I was going to treat the experience as an opportunity to hit the reset button on my life. 

Back in 2014, I was in a position that I had never imagined I’d be in (and that’s inside and outside of the divorce). For the next year, I spent time exploring things that I’ve always wanted to do. I invested in myself. I invested in experiences. And I changed in more ways that I could count and I discovered what made me authentically me. 

I say all this to share that my life now is nothing like what I had envisioned it to be. Life isn’t all sunsets, roses, and good wine – but it’s pretty good on most days. And on bad days, I know I’ll be able to get through it. What I’m most proud of is how dramatic change created an opportunity for me to find my authentic self. 

What does authenticity mean to you?