“Fold ‘Em” or “No More Poker Face”
“Authenticity” is quite the buzzword nowadays. It is considered to be one of the ten values regarded as most essential to postmodern generations (that would be Xers and Millennials). Being a Gen Xer, it is indeed numero uno on my value list. So much so that when I resurrected this blog, I made the tag line ‘living a radically authentic life.’
But what does that mean?
I mean, even I am confused! Because when I look around social media I see EVERYBODY trying to be authentic. And I say trying to be, because I don’t believe half of it is real. (Uh. Hello! It’s social media, of course it isn’t real!)
Out in the Blogosphere and Social Media Mecca, it is hard not to notice how fucking happy everyone is. (See there? I used ‘fucking’ which is very ‘authentic’ of me, doncha think?)
Instagram galleries full of sunlight and rosy filters. Every thing and everyone is so beautiful and uplifting and NOT REAL!
Authenticity has been hijacked. It has become a branding strategy.
It gets more likes, gains more followers, and makes more sales.
Is real authenticity merely a romantic fantasy? Are we deluding ourselves in thinking it exists?
No. It does. But we have to discern it better, and call it out when we see it. And call out “bullshit!” when its some fake-ass shit.
Essena O’Neil is a 19-year-old Australian Instagram star. At 16 years old she was posting photos of herself in bikinis, coming off the beach after a swim, candid photos in pretty dresses… and she recently opened up and revealed the truth. About her life. About the shots that got her a million followers.
She called “Bullshit!” on herself! And it’s awwwwweeesooommmeee!
She realized that she wasn’t living an authentic life and began editing all of the captions on her photos to tell the truth behind the pictures.
“…Stomach sucked in, strategic pose, pushed up boobs,” O’Neill wrote. “I just want younger girls to know this isn’t candid life, or cool or inspirational. Its contrived perfection made to get attention.”
Telling the truth is authentic.
How else can we tell what is really authentic?
Well, we feel it. It resonates. It passes the test on multiple levels. It doesn’t just please the eye, it satisfies the gut.
It’s like watching Bernie Sanders walking the streets with the public vs. watching Hillary Clinton drink a beer in a bar. One seems totally normal and one seems staged. This is not a political endorsement. Hell, I don’t even know if “authentic” is really what we want in our leaders. Donald Trump is pretty authentic….sooooo….yeah….
How can WE be more authentic?
Well, first, we can be more self-aware. We can know our own strengths, limitations and emotions. And we can be honest about them.
We can acknowledge our mistakes.
We can communicate our true feelings. We aren’t always happy for crying out loud! We can be angry, frustrated, depressed, and yes, truly joyful!
We can stop trying to present a perfect façade.
We act from the heart, not the head.
We can act from the soul, not the heart.
I saw a clip today of “Lady Gaga” speaking about her awakening to being more authentic, and she expresses it perfectly.
So can we all get real now?