readtime: 6 minutes
song: tenerif sea by ed sheeran
i went to bed and woke thinking about the same thing — humanity. so, at this point, i am fairly certain that i am supposed to write about this, think about this, and at the very least process my own humanity.
in our culture, we talk a lot about “authenticity” and being your “authentic self”. but, personally, i’m not hearing much talk about being human and embracing the messiness and realness of our humanity.
when i think about authenticity — i think about being honest and true. being forthcoming, and not hiding the things that i’ve been through in order to paint myself in a better light. i think about sharing my story in a way that is compelling and moving to others. i think about truthfulness, purity, and genuinely walking through life.
and when i reflect on how i live my life — i feel as if i do a pretty good job at being authentic. what i feel like i am not good at— showing my humanity.
because, i am starting to feel as if there is a difference. and maybe, it’s because i have been holding myself to a different standard and everyone else has the whole authentic thing down pat, in such a way, that also lends to showing their humanity. but, either way, i am coming to the conclusion that, for me— it’s okay to be human. it’s okay for my humanity to be a real part of a situation.
(as i am writing, i am thinking — bare with me. part of this new daily writing thing that i promised myself included taking the pressure off myself. which includes, not taking long pauses to think while writing. because when you do, that’s when writing becomes a chore. right? i think we’ve all been there. so, all that to say, if you’re reading this daily writings they really are more like sitting down with me for a glass of wine or a cup of coffee — because at some point, i’ll be bound to ramble off about something.)
okay, so take this past weekend for instance — my sister’s wedding.
i love my sister and i think she realizes it now— but her wedding day was a super hectic and stressful day for me with errands upon errands. i had my list and my timeline, and on paper everything was going to be done at 11 AM just in time for me to come back to my house and get my hair done and photograph my sister getting into her wedding dress.
that. did. not. happen.
the morning did not go as planned, i was two hours off my timeline due to reasons that were unforeseen (as always). and, while i was moving as fast as i could from place to place— you can only go so fast in a lexus SUV when you’re driving around a car full of wedding centerpieces and your sister’s wedding cake. the normal 80 MPH was looking more like 60 MPH — which, if you know me, you know that’s a major driving breakthrough.
i dragged my cousin along with me to run all the errands, because there was no way in heaven that i’d be able to transport everything by myself — everything is always better in twos. as we are driving to drop off the cake at the reception venue, i looked at the clock and started to tear up. i was unthinkably behind schedule and was probably going to miss getting ready with my sister, photographing her getting in her white dress, and at the end of it — i was probably going to only have 30 minutes to get ready for her wedding. on top of that, i was feeling immensely guilty for being stressed on my sister’s wedding day. not that i’ve spent lots of sleepless moments in bed thinking about what my sister’s wedding day will be like (sorry, kim!), but, whatever i was imagining did not involve being stressed to the max. there was a cloud of guilt hanging over me making me feel like, “you should have this all together. you shouldn’t be having these feelings right now.” like, my own self, was shaming me for feeling stressed and for experiencing very human emotions. and within all that, i didn’t want my cousin to see my cry. i didn’t want her to see my humanity. i didn’t want anyone to know, like really know, that i didn’t have a handle on it.
i think THIS is what i’m getting at— i think that what i have been seeing in myself (and, if i’m being honest, in some others) — is that we don’t want to allow ourselves to be human nor do we want others to experience our humanity and see us dealing with real human emotions.
personally, it probably has to do a lot with my personality type and who i have become in recent years and what i expect out of myself — but either way, i am on a mission to extend myself a little more grace and give myself room to be human.
i’m not a huge fan of reality TV (minus the bachelor, but ask me what their name is after their season is over and i won’t remember who you’re talking about). but, i am beginning to realize that one of the reasons our culture, as a whole, is so obsessed with reality TV is because we see their humanity. and, while often times, their humanity becomes some sort of comedic relief to us — still, we see it and we appreciate it because at the end of the day — their humanity is relatable.
i don’t want to make a blanket statement about everyone and how they interact with the idea and concept of “authenticity” — because, frankly, i don’t know. and quite honestly, i don’t want to be the judge of that.
but i do want to suggest that we throw something else on the table as well as the idea of “authentic”, because i think “authentic” may not cut it. i think that authenticity is beautiful, needed, and inspiring — but showing pieces of our humanity to others allows for us to be relatable. it brings us back to a place of humility. showing our humanity gives us the opportunity to be community to one another and to lift each other up — because in those very real human moments — you need someone else to come alongside of you and be the breath beneath your wings. you can’t do it on your own. you need someone else to come beside you and tell you that “it’s going to be okay”.
people need to see our humanity. but, more than that, i think that each of us need to be okay with our own humanity. (and that includes me).
we need to give ourselves grace when we experience those very human moments. forego, the need / the desire / the expectation to be perfect. and be humble enough to let someone else be strong for us every now and then.
what are your thoughts — humanity and authenticity. do you think there is a difference? how do you navigate through the waters of authenticity and showing your humanity?
Oh Lindsey– THANK YOU for writing this. For putting your heart out there and your human-ness! I cannot tell you what a sweet blanket of grace this piece was to my current troubled heart. I wear my heart on my sleeve and sometimes that finds me questioning myself because I think my true human emotions will ruin relationships. It’s a constant battle! Thank you for the reminder we can be human and lean on others in the mess as well.