When I was younger, any chance I got to be someone else, I took. I remember flying somewhere was always a fun experience, and one I looked forward to not for the end destination, but for whatever poor sucker who was about to sit next to me. Fate sat a stranger next to me, and suddenly I got to be anyone I wanted. I was a surfer, a professional snowboarder, on a backpacking trip overseas, and once I was even a professional women’s basketball coach.
Now I know what you’re thinking, what a horrible thing to do to lie about who you are to those people.
You’re right. No doubt about that.
BUT. (there’s always a but)
Back then, I was chasing after someone else’s life because I didn’t have the tools to make my own something I felt was worth sharing. I didn’t have the self-love to put my life out there for someone to judge. I carried a lot of shame around because I didn’t have a life I felt was worth talking about.
I was young, and I didn’t have a mentor to teach me that you can cultivate any one of your passions so long as you put in the effort. I was without an understanding that being who YOU are is what other people will connect with.
I had no context for what being authentic actually meant in the grander scheme of things.
I learned really quickly that a short-lived lie told to a stranger on a plane will only have you engaged until the guilt of the lies catches up to you. That happens about the same time you’re waiting for your suitcase to come down the carousel at baggage claim.
I can’t tell you the exact moment it was I started embracing my life. In retrospect, it wasn’t something I actually decided. Once I found out where my passions were, I worked on them until I produced something I felt was worth sharing with the world. I worked until I didn’t feel ashamed. I worked until I was proud.
Now to you, this “blog thing” that I run might not seem all that big. It doesn’t seem like something that would completely turn your world upside down.
So why does Only Human seem to be the only thing I can talk about now?
Why do I wait in excitement for someone to ask me what I do just so I can tell them about the thing that DOESN’T pay the bills?
I’ll tell you.
This website didn’t teach me about coding, graphic design, photography, or writing. It taught me about authenticity, and what it’s like to put yourself out there and have other people embrace it. It taught me what it’s like to embrace other people for who they are as well.
It was sitting next to a stranger on a plane while I was flying to Virginia and telling them who I really was, and then having them pull up the site while we talk. It’s the countless people who tell me they can see the passion light up in me when I talk about it.
By being authentic, we allow others to see us for who we are, even the parts we’re ashamed of. Talking about the shame, the fear, it takes all of its power away and lets you see yourself, and your life, clearly.
When I embraced how scared I was, I realized that the things I feared were things that couldn’t actually affect me unless I let them.
I was scared of…
When I reflected on this I realized that I would never judge, laugh at, humiliate, or ridicule someone for their passions, their work, or the courage it takes to put yourself out there.
So why would I treat myself differently?
If I’m willing to love others through their faults, why can’t I love myself? (flaws included)
I learn something new about myself every day, and each day I wake up and do my best to live an authentic life. I’m not perfect and will never claim to be, but I can tell you one thing…
I love myself regardless of the fear.
So go fall in love with yourself, and never forget to remain authentic to who you are.
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